Materials World April 2017
A recent Chatham House study arguing that energy policies for biomass are not fit for purpose is the latest in a long line of rebuttals of its green credentials – we cover this report and reactions to it in this issue. It’s a similar debate to the one that has been raging over the sustainability of biofuels for years. Bio-based polymers, too, remain an area of contention, and they happen to be this issue’s material(s) of the month. ‘Bio’ has a certain connotation for the consumer – much like organic crops, it sounds carbon-neutral, sustainable, renewable, green – but the reality, as always is much more complex.
This will be is the final material of the month article for the time being, but we may return to the series in future. A new series, material marvels, will replace it from May. The series will look at a different feat of engineering, with a focus on materials, each month. We’d love to hear which – from ancient times to the present day – you would like us to feature.
This month’s features theme is manufacturing, and Dr Martin Jackson, Director of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Sheffield, UK, has written the lead article, arguing for a new hybrid solid-state process to support the expansion of titanium alloy use in aircraft. Mining features this month include Michael Schwartz’s piece on the challenges for Indonesia’s mining sector, while Benjamin Bell explains how securing the supply of scandium could help to deliver the next generation of electric cars.