Keep cool: Researchers develop magnetic cooling cycle (US)

A novel technology could provide a solution for cooling processes: refrigeration using magnetic materials in magnetic fields. Researchers have developed the idea of a cooling cycle based on the ‘magnetic memory’ of special alloys.- On photo, The Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory of te HZDR, where the new magnetic cooling system was developed

Besides superfluous features like touchscreens and internal cameras, basic refrigerator technology hasn’t changed much in decades. They still chill your milk by way of chemical refrigerants and compressors, and are notorious drains on your electricity bill. Now researchers in Europe have shown promising early results with an experimental cooling system that uses magnetic fields and shape-shifting memory alloys. Magnetic cooling systems work by exploiting the magnetocaloric effect – which basically means that certain materials will change temperature whenContinue reading

NASA Welding Technologies Could Revolutionize Workboat Fabrication (US)

Solid-State Welding Processes Being Developed for NASA Manufacturing Programs Could Significantly Reduce Workboat Fabrication Costs

Whether it is for a tug boat, cargo vessel, or an offshore supply ship, much of the workboat fabrication industry is located along the Southern Coast of the U.S. But a visit to any one of the workboat facilities in that area (or any other in the country) would reveal antiquated and archaic fabrication processes used seventy years ago. The workboat manufacturing process is very expensive, labor intensive, and has not really changed since World War II. Perhaps it is time to go back to the drawing board and redesign the workboat manufacturing process from the ground up so that new solid-state welding processes and other aerospace technologies being developed at NASA’s Marshall Space Continue reading

Voestalpine gets tariff exemptions for some U.S. orders: CEO (US)

DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) – Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine said some of the applications it has filed to shield U.S. orders from local import tariffs have been successful. The company has so far received 140 responses to the total 3,500 applications it has filed, Chief Executive Wolfgang Eder told journalists late on Tuesday. Eder said, however, that the decisions so far only affected small orders. “The really big ones are still outstanding,” he said, Continue reading

Steel Giants Dofasco and Algoma Bet on Artificial Intelligence to Disrupt The Steelmaking Industry (US)

A full ladle of liquid steel, seen here at the ArcelorMittal Dofasco plant in Hamilton, weighs about 318 tonnes, and can be heated to about 1,600 C. Dofasco wants to fully automate its ladle metallurgy process – the stage when trained operators manually add the ‘secret sauce’ to liquid steel before it is cast into numerous grades of steel slabs for construction, car-making and packaged goods. Instead, digital sensors could consistently determine the precise temperature at which to add the right ingredients to produce the desired grade of steel

Dofasco wants to improve its ladle metallurgy process, a key step in steel-making, while Algoma eyes the potential to automate product development. In both cases, the companies look to artificial intelligence and machine learning to help them set new, world-beating standards of efficiency, quality, energy savings and generate as-yet unimagined innovations.

Steel-making is a science but still relies on experienced human operators at key stages of production. But what if “smart” technology replaced manual tasks with digital sensors that consistently update information and reveal insights impossible to detect with the trained eye – or brain ?  Answering the “what if” question is a top priority for Canadian steel giant ArcelorMittal Dofasco as it strives to compete globally. To speed the hunt for answers – when Canadian steel already is under siege from U.S. tariffs in a burgeoning global trade war – the Hamilton-based manufacturer hopes to join forces with innovative startups, university researchers and even a competitor, Essar Steel Algoma Inc., to promote a new generation of manufacturing.

“Traditionally, the research and development of a product in steel-making is a slow process, In future,  Algoma could apply self-learning algorithmic models to assess multiple variables at once – beyond the capacity of any experienced technician. As a result, the product development cycle could take just 15 days to two or three months.”

Pramod Shukla, chief operating officer of Algoma, in Sault Ste Marie, Ont

In future, he says, Algoma could apply self-learning algorithmic models to assess multiple variables at once – beyondContinue reading

Why lithium-ion may rule batteries for a long time to come (US)

Materials scientist Gerd Ceder is overseeing a research effort to extend the capabilities of the dominant form of energy storage, using a new class of compounds.

he US Department of Energy is launching a major research effort to develop a new generation of lithium-ion batteries largely free of cobalt, a rare and expensive metal delivered through an increasingly troubling supply chain. The three-year program, part of a broader effort to accelerate advanced vehicle technologies, could eventually lead to cheaper, longer-lasting consumer gadgets, electric cars, and grid storage. Materials scientist Gerd Ceder is overseeing one project under the research program at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, aimed at developing Continue reading

Big River Steel Attends White House Summit on Artificial Intelligence (US)

OSCEOLA, Ark.May 11, 2018 – The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy invited government officials, technical experts in academia, heads of industrial research labs and business leaders to attend the “Artificial Intelligence for American Industry” summit. Big River Steel’s chief executive officer Dave Sticklerwas in attendance as part of the discussions on how industries are adopting AI technologies to Continue reading

Ahead of winter, Chinese steel mills rush to meet stricter smog rules (US)

BEIJING (Reuters) – Steel mills in Tangshan, China’s top steelmaking city, are rushing to install equipment to meet new ‘ultra-low’ emissions targets by an Oct. 31 deadline, as the measures to battle pollution threaten more upheaval in the debt-laden sector. Only a handful of mills have installed the technology that removes sulfur, nitrogen and dust and costs up to 200 million yuan ($29 million), according to analysts who have tracked the more than 150 sintering plants in the city affected by the new rules, which were only announced in July. “Everyone is trying to speed up the (upgrade) project … Still, time is very tight,” said an environmental manager at Hebei Donghai Special Steel Co, aContinue reading

Crack formation captured in 3D in real time (US)

Thanks to new 3D images of crack formation, scientists have a better understanding of the propagation of micro fractures caused by hydrogen embrittlement. Photo by Texas A&M University

Aug. 23 (UPI) — Material scientists have for the first time captured 3D images of crack formation in real time. The breakthrough allowed scientists to better understand how microscopic fractures propagate. The research could allow Continue reading

US Air Force Cancels $419.6 million Forgings Contract Awarded to Swiss Group: Schmolz + Bickenbach (US)

The US Air Force (USAF) has cancelled one of two contracts recently awarded to manufacture BLU-137/B penetrator warheads because the recipient is foreign-owned and so ineligible, Jane’s has learnt. Documents seen by Jane’s on 6 September show that the USAF has rescinded a USD419.6 million deal for 300 BLU-137/B ‘bunker buster’ bodies (with the potential for up to 3,500 bodies) awarded to Finkl & Sons Company on 27 June, as the Chicago-based steel manufacturer is owned by Swiss group Schmolz + Bickenbach.

The Air Force plans to scrap a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars to make bunker-busting bombs amid lawmaker complaints it had been given to a foreign-owned company with ties to a U.S-sanctioned Russian oligarch. In an Aug. 30 letter obtained by Bloomberg Government, the Air Force appeared to agree with the lawmakers, who had said the company, Chicago-based A. Finkl & Sons Co., should have been ineligible because of its foreign ownership. Finkl’s Swiss parent company, Schmolz + Bickenbach, has links to Russian billionaire and aluminum magnate Viktor Vekselberg, according to company records. While not mentioning Vekselberg, the Air Force Continue reading

NASA uses shape memory nickel-titanium-hafnium alloy to fold F-18 wing (US)

The 300-pound wing section was removed from an F/A-18 at NASA Armstrong in Edwards, California, enabling the team to prove a full wing section could be folded using a newly developed nickel-titanium-hafnium high temperature SMA torque-tube actuator, capable of applying 5,000-inch-pounds of torque.

Beginning at the horizontal position, the SMA mechanism was electrically heated and cooled on command to allow the wing to move 90 degrees up and down. More importantly, researchers were able to move the wing section to any selected position within that sweep with Continue reading