Russia is the world's largest producer of palladium, which is used to produce autocatalysts and multi-layer ceramic capacitors, as well as jewellery and dental alloys.
Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel producer, extracts palladium as a by-product from it's nickel mines in Russia as well as from mines in Botswana and South Africa. The company accounts for about 40 percent of primary refined palladium production.
Prior to Russia's move into the Crimean peninsula, the market for PGMs had already been moving higher due to an ongoing strike in South Africa that has seriously impacted output from the world's second largest source of palladium.
When Hannibal's army arrived in Gaul in 217 BCE it wasn't just the 90,000 troops and 3 dozen war elephants that invoked terror in his opponents: the Romans already had knowledge of Carthaginian swords.
Cast from Toledo steel, the Carthaginian short swords - or falcatas - were stronger and more durable than any weapons the Romans possessed.
In the spring of the same year, Hannibal ambushed the Roman army on the shore of Lake Trasimenus, destroying the Roman army. A year later, the Romans raised another army - numbering as many as 100,000 - to strike Hannibal at Cannae. But, again, it was the Romans that suffered. An estimated two-thirds were killed or captured.
While strategy was critical, the advantage provided by Toledo steel swords was undeniable. Two layers of metal - a softer ferritic steel enveloped by a lower carbon pre-modern steel - produced stronger but comparably elastic blades.
In the following decades and centuries, Roman legions throughout Europe would adopt weaponry made from Toledo steel. Read More...
Ten athletes at the winter Olympic Games in Sochi will have an opportunity to take home more than just a gold, silver or bronze medal.
The government of Chelyabinsk, which was hit with a meoteorite last February 15th, will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the meteor strike by awarding medals studded with a piece of the space rock to the athletes who win gold medals on that day.
The medals have been made with gold and silver, and inset with a piece of the meteorite, which was mainly composed of iron, magnesium-containing silicate and sulfites. They were carved by specialists in the town of Zlatoust.
In total, 50 medals have been made. Ten will be awarded to athletes, while some 40 others will be sold to private collectors. Read More...
One of the most important creations of the 20th century, stainless steel, is often attributed to one man, Harry Brearley. But Brearley was just one of many metallurgists and scientists to realize the importance of chromium in protecting against the corrosion of steel.
In 1912, Brearley stumbled upon this realization in Sheffield, England while working on a new alloy to reduce pitting and erosion of rifle barrels.
Meanwhile in America, Elwood Haynes, who had earlier patented Stellite alloys, was also working with chromium steel, and submitted his patent for a corrosion resistant steel in 1912.
Haynes and Brearley would, ultimately, end up working together marketing and selling stainless steel (which, initially was primarily used in cutlery) in the US.
Chinese purchases increased 32 percent to 1,189.8 tonnes in 2013, according to Thomson Reuters GFMS gold survey.
With gold prices falling by nearly one third last year, investors in the Middle Kingdom snapped up the metal as a hedge against inflation. Artificially low interest rates and greater wealth contributed to Chinese demand. Read More...
I have previously discussed the increasing use of aluminum and other lightweight alloys as a means of weight reduction and fuel efficiency in certain vehicles, but this is the first mainstream truck to embrace aluminum to such a degree.
Aluminum alloys will be used in the doors, hood, side panels, truck bed and tailgate of the 2015 F-150, producing an overall weight reduction of about 700 pounds.
As part of the testing process, and without detailing the exact changes, Ford sent some of their new design trucks to customers working at mines and in construction. Read More...
After surging to a seven-month high in the first week of 2014, prices for copper fell last week due to concerns over China's growth.
China imported over 441,000 tons of the metal in December, a 29 percent increase over the previous year, while inventories in London, New York and Shanghai are reportedly at their lowest levels since November 2012.
Yet, with new supplies coming online in 2013, and more expected in 2014, many traders remain bearish on copper prices. Although Chinese consumption has grown in recent months, much of this is believed to have been driven by financial reasons and not physical demand for the metal.
One topic that I have touched upon repeatedly in posts over the past couple of years, and which I believe is integral to the modern metals industry, is the development of new alloys and metal-composite compounds.
The importance of new alloys, with specific electronic, mechanical or other properties, has also been identified by the White House and National Science and Technology Council as vital to development in the 21st century.
One result of this has been the Materials Genome Initiative for Global Competitiveness, which was launched in 2011 with the goal of reducing the development time required to produce new materials vital to new technologies by providing infrastructure and training to American innovators. Read More...
An article I recently stumbled upon in an old copy of The Atlantic provided a fascinating look at the Heavy Press Program, a Cold War-era project that was directed by the US Air Force and aimed at creating the world's largest forging and extrusion presses.
The program ran between 1950 and 1957 and, at a cost of US$ 279 million, led to the construction of four forging presses and six extruders. Eight of the presses are still operational today, including a 50,000-ton press operated by Alcoa in Cleveland, Ohio.
'The Fifty', as it is referred to by staff, combines precision and power to create parts essential to industrial gas turbines, helicopters and spacecraft. Every aircraft produced by Boeing, Airbus or the US military uses parts forged by the Fifty.
Tim Heffernan, a freelance journalist who is currently working on a book about the Heavy Press Program, describes approaching the Fifty: Read More...
Stiffer and 22 percent lighter than aluminum, the principal Beralcast® alloy is sold as lower cost replacement for cast aluminum, magnesium, titanium, pure beryllium and various composite materials. The alloys can be precision cast and has been used in semiconductor manufacturing equipment, computer components, as well as automotive and aerospace applications.
Last week IBC Engineered Materials, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IBC Advanced Alloys Corp., announced that the company is in the final stages of a materials and production qualification process with Lockheed Martin's F-35 Electro-optical Targeting System (EOTS) team. Read More...