Cobalt, lithium and nickel are booming due to China’s insatiable appetite for electric vehicles (US)

World prices of cobalt, lithium and nickel are booming as China’s insatiable need for the battery packs used in electric vehicles drove up demand, recreating the economic bonanza that fuelled commodity-exporting countries a decade ago.  The price of lithium, a soft silvery white metal usually mined from brines, has soared by more than 300 per cent in the past two years. The price of cobalt, mostly mined as a by-product of nickel and copper, surged 129 per cent last year while nickel surged 4.6 per cent to a two-year high in London. At the centre of the boom is China’s support for developing electric vehicles (EV) to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Electric vehicles made up aContinue reading

Superior Forge and Finkl & Sons Win $897 Million U.S. Defense for the production of bunker buster bomb warhead bodies (US)

The contracts guarantee production of 300 bodies each in the firstyear, and up to 3,500 bodies each in the subsequent four years. Work under both contracts is expected to be completed by May 3, 2020. 

The U.S. Air Force awarded two contracts for the production of bunker buster bomb warhead bodies for up to $897 million, a U.S. Department of Defense release said. Superior Forge and Steel Corp., Lima, Ohio, was awarded up to $476,935,075 and A. Finkl & Sons Co., Chicago, was awarded up to $419,633,500 for BLU-137/B penetrator warheadContinue reading

Men who sold titanium to Pratt & Whitney contractor plead guilty to federal fraud charges (US)

The owners of a West Bridgewater metals firm that sold improperly sourced titanium to the aerospace industry have pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud charges, and could face prison time. John J. Palie Jr., 62, of Tiverton, R.I., and John J. Palie III, 42, of Plymouth, Mass., appeared in U.S. District Court in Bridgwater, Conn. on Wednesday. The two admitted they lied about the source and quality of the titanium, saying the metal was certified for advancedContinue reading

Superstrong Al alloys may change manufacturing processes for automobiles, aerospace devices (US)

In this photo, Qiang Li makes a deposition program on the operational computer, and Yifan Zhang loads samples into a sputtering chamber to prepare high-strength Al alloy coatings. Credit Photo @Purdue University

 University researchers have developed a superstrong material that may change some manufacturing processes for the aerospace and automobile industries. The Purdue team, led by Xinghang Zhang, a professor in Purdue’s School of Materials Engineering, created high-strength aluminum alloy coatings. According to Zhang, there is an increasing demand for such materials because of their advantages for automakers and aerospace industries. “We have created a very durable and lightweight aluminum alloy that is just as strong as, and possibly stronger than, stainless steel,” Zhang said. “Our aluminum alloy is lightweight and provides flexibility that stainless steel does not in manyContinue reading

Apollo Minerals Receives French Government Approval to Obtain 100% Ownership of Tungsten Couflens Project (US)

The miner said the approval allowed it to purchase the remaining 20% interest in the project it does not already own, having acquired an 80% interest in the project in 2017. Apollo Minerals Limited (ASX:AON) has received approval from the French Ministry of Economy and Finance to gain 100% ownership of the Couflens tungsten-copper-gold project in the Pyrenees. The miner said the approval allowed it to purchase the remaining 20% interest in the project it does not already own, having acquired an 80% interest in the project in 2017.The group added that it wouldContinue reading

FOCAL, les enceintes françaises au béryllium qui pulvérisent BOSE (FR)

La curieuse forme incurvée sert à mieux orienter le son vers l’auditeur. Le tweeter en béryllium, un métal léger et très solide, permet un rendu très fin des aigus. Le dôme du haut-parleur aigu est inversé pour une meilleure directivité des ondes sonores.

De Saint-Etienne, cette PME rayonne dans le monde entier avec ses enceintes et ses systèmes acoustiques très, très haut de gamme. Elle équipe même des voitures premium.

Quand Christophe Sicaud reçoit ses clients VIP à l’usine de Saint-Etienne, le président de Focal, numéro 1 français des enceintes acoustiques, ne manque pas de leur en mettre plein la vue. Ou plutôt, plein les oreilles. D’abord, il les installe dans un large canapé en cuir, face à deux grandes Utopia : des colonnes laquées de 2 mètres de haut àl’ébénisterie épaisse de 5 centimètres et pesant chacune 256 kilos. Ensuite, le maestro pousse le son des quatre Continue reading

SpaceX to use superalloys in Mars rocket Raptor engines, says Elon Musk (US)

SpaceX’s current Texas facilities feature a test stand for Raptor, the engine intended to power BFR and BFS to Mars. (SpaceX)

A few days after he touched upon methods of creating BFR propellant on Mars, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk mentioned in a tweet that the launch company was using cutting-edge combinations of metals (known as superalloys) to ensure the efficiency and reliability of its Raptor rocket engine, a critical requirement for BFR to enable sustainable colonization of Mars. In response to a tweeted question about types of metal alloys currently in use at SpaceX, Musk briefly delved into the complexities of building BFR’s propulsion system, particularly with respect to alloys capable of surviving the intense conditions inside a rocket engine:

“[SpaceX is using] SX 300 & soon SX 500. Kind of a modern version of Inconel superalloys. High strength at temperature, extreme oxidation resistance. Needed for ~800 atmosphere, hot, oxygen-rich turbopump on Raptor rocket engine.” – Elon Musk

There’s a lot to break down for the layperson in Musk’s tweet. First and foremost, commenters (your author included) immediately jumped to the conclusion that “SX 300/500” referred to some sort custom SpaceX material, given that SX is a frequent shorthand for Continue reading

Sweden starts construction on fossil fuel-free steel plant (US)

Swedish Prime Minister Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, Bengt Kjell, Chairman of the Board SSAB, Marten Gornerup, CEO Hybrit, Jan Mostrom, CEO LKAB, Magnus Hall, CEO Vattenfall, Martin Lindqvist, CEO SSAB, Réni Kolessar, Research Director of Energy Agency and Isabella Lovin Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister, from left, take part in a ceremony marking the construction of pilot plant for fossil-free steel production, a collaboration between LKAB, Vattenfall and SSAB, in the SSAB industrial area in Lulea, Sweden Wednesday June 20, 2018. Sweden has started construction on a factory in the northeastern town of Lulea that will test whether it’s feasible to make steel without burning fossil fuels. (Credit Photo @Gustav Sjöholm/TT via AP)

A significant green step is taken outside Luleå for an industry that accounts for about a quarter of direct CO2 emissions in global industry production.

Would it be possible to produce steel without using coal to turn iron into hardened steel? Yes, if to believe a industry consortium in northern Sweden that now invests 1,4 billion kronor (€136 million) in a pilot plant. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Stefan Löfen traveled north to underline the importance of the project for Sweden’s green shift. «I’m really happy and proud to take part here today. We in Sweden show the roadmap to something that could be the largest technological shift in a 1,000 years,» Löfen said in his speech quoted Continue reading

Kobe Steel chief apologizes to shareholders (US)

Participants arrive for the general shareholders meeting of Kobe Steel Ltd. in Kobe on Thursday

KOBE (Jiji Press) — The chief of Kobe Steel Ltd. apologized to shareholders on Thursday over a product data falsification scandal involving the company. “We deeply apologize for causing inconvenience to shareholders and clients,” Mitsugu Yamaguchi, Kobe Steel president and chief executive officer, said at a general meeting of shareholders in Kobe. “We are working in a unified manner to prevent similar misconduct from happening again,” said Yamaguchi, promising to revamp the corporate culture of the company to restore trust. The management was grilled by many participants at the shareholders’ meeting, the first since Kobe Steel announced the data Continue reading

Midhani to Cut Reliance on Chinese Special Steels Imports (US)

Midhani, a Government of India enterprise under the Defence Ministry, produces special steel, super-alloys and is the sole manufacturer of titanium alloys in the country.

Hyderabad: The Mishra Dhatu Nigam (Midhani) Limited, a special grade metal maker, is looking at reducing dependency on China for the strategic metals used in defence products as it was facing issues over pricing and quality of imported materials, a top official of the PSU said. “There are issues in terms of pricing by Chinese companies on imports of some of the special grade metals used in making defence products. Apart from this, the quality of Chinese materials is also sometimes inferior,” city-based Midhani Chairman andContinue reading