Friday, 30 November 2018

Choosing the right type of stainless steel for your golf club.

The vast majority – probably 90% - of golf clubs sold are made by casting – which involves pouring molten metal into a mould to produce a golf club head.

The nature of casting allows manufacturers to be more creative in their – the process particularly lending itself to the creation of cavity back clubs and the ability to push weight to the outside of the head which helps prevent it twisting on off-centre hits.

You will hear manufacturers shouting about their use of cast 17-4 stainless steel. No, we didn’t know what it meant either until we looked it up. It means that 17% of the make-up is chromium – and 4% nickel. And that, apparently, is very good news. 17-4 stainless steel is strong, durable, very hard, and doesn’t corrode easily.

You'll also hear about 431 Stainless steel which is 25% softer than 17-4 – and would claim to give slightly better ‘feel’ . It’s worth noting, however, that the harder the face, the faster the ball comes off it. So everything is a compromise.

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Friday, 23 November 2018

Recycling rusty stainless steel mesh to make renewable energy storage

Scientists have made good use of waste while finding an innovative solution to a technical problem by transforming rusty stainless steel mesh into electrodes with outstanding electrochemical properties that make them ideal for potassium-ion batteries.

Chinese scientists have made good use of waste while finding an innovative solution to a technical problem by transforming rusty stainless steel mesh into electrodes with outstanding electrochemical properties that make them ideal for potassium-ion batteries. As reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the rust is converted directly into a compact layer with a grid structure that can store potassium ions. A coating of reduced graphite oxide increases the conductivity and stability during charge/discharge cycles.

Increasing use of renewable energy requires effective energy storage within the grid. Lithium ion batteries, widely used in portable electronics, are promising candidates. Lithium ion batteries are based on the displacement of lithium ions. While charging, the ions move toward the graphite electrode, where they are stored between the layers of carbon. When discharging, they are released. However, lithium is expensive and reserves are limited. Sodium ion batteries have been explored as an alternative.

"Potassium ions are just as inexpensive and readily available as sodium, and potassium ion batteries would be superior from the electric aspect," reports Xin-Bo Zhang. "However, the significantly larger radius of the potassium ions has posed a problem. Repeated storage and release of these ions destabilises the materials currently used in electrodes."

Zhang and a team from the Chinese Academy of sciences and Jilin University (Changchun, China) have now found an elegant solution in their use of a waste material to make novel electrodes: rejected stainless steel mesh from filters and sieves. Despite the excellent durability of these grids, harsh conditions do lead to some corrosion. The metal can be reclaimed in a furnace, but this process requires a great deal of money, time, and energy, as well as producing emissions. Says Zhang: "Conversion into electrodes could develop into a more ecologically and economically sensible form of recycling."

The corroded mesh is dipped into a solution of potassium ferrocyanide (yellow prussiate of potash, known as a fining agent for wine). This dissolves iron, chromium, and nickel ions out of the rust layer. These combine with ferricyanide ions into the complex salt known as Prussian blue, a dark blue pigment that is deposited onto the surface of the mesh as scaffold-like nanocubes. Potassium ions can easily and rapidly be stored in and released from these structures.

The researchers then use a dip-coating process to deposit a layer of graphene oxide (oxidised graphite layers). This layer nestles tightly onto the nanocubes. Subsequent reduction converts the graphene oxide to reduced graphene oxide (RGO), which consists of layers of graphite with isolated oxygen atoms. Zhang explains, "the RGO coating inhibits clumping and detachment of the active material. At the same time, it significantly increases the conductivity and opens ultrafast electron-transport pathways."

In tests, coin cells made with these new electrodes demonstrate excellent capacity, discharge voltages, rate capability, and outstanding cycle stability. Because the inexpensive, binder-free electrodes are very flexible, they are highly suitable for use in flexible electronic devices.

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Friday, 16 November 2018

Maraging Stainless Steel used at the highest levels of competitive fencing

In the sport of fencing one of the most important metals is the Stainless Steel used in the weapons used - the Foil, Epée, and Sabre.

At the high level the flexibility and reliability required during a competition is only gained with the use of Maraging Stainless Steel. Maraging Stainless Steel creates a balanced tough blade perfect for high level club fencers and aspiring competitive athletes.

Maraging steels (a portmanteau of "martensitic" and "aging") are steels (iron alloys) that are known for possessing superior strength and toughness without losing malleability, although they cannot hold a good cutting edge. Aging refers to the extended heat-treatment process. These steels are a special class of low-carbon ultra-high-strength steels that derive their strength not from carbon, but from precipitation of intermetallic compounds. The principal alloying element is 15 to 25 wt.% nickel.

The Foil
A foil is one of the three weapons used in the sport of fencing, all of which are metal. It is flexible, rectangular in cross section, and weighs under a pound. As with the épée, points are only scored by contact with the tip, which, in electrically scored tournaments, is capped with a spring-loaded button to signal a touch. A foil fencer's uniform features the lamé (a vest, electrically wired to record hits in such cases), a jacket (made of strong cloth covering the groin area, chest and arms), a glove, so called knickers (in the US or breeches in UK), long socks (to prevent damage to shins by foils), shoes (generally light and rounded), an 'under-arm protector' (strong cloth half top with no seam across the armpit, worn under the jacket), a mask (metal mesh with cloth 'bib'). For women, young children and all who choose, a chest protector (a strong stiff plastic plate protecting the upper chest area), and the foil. It is the most commonly used weapon in competition.

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - MAY 4, 2018: Peter Joppich, Germany vs Dominic De Almeida, Great Britain in first competition day of Fencing World Cup Saint-Petersburg Foil. Tournament is hold in 44th time

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Friday, 9 November 2018

Stainless Steel, Albert Ball and the ’Spitfire of World War 1’

During the First World War stainless steel was used in the aircraft engines of BE2’s, RE8’s. DH2’s, Sopwith Triplanes, Sopwith Camels and SE5a’s.

The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 was a British biplane fighter aircraft of the First World War. It was developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory by a team consisting of Henry Folland, John Kenworthy and Major Frank Goodden. It was one of the fastest aircraft of the war, while being both stable and relatively manoeuvrable. According to aviation author Robert Jackson, the S.E.5 was: "the nimble fighter that has since been described as the 'Spitfire of World War One'".

The S.E.5 was powered by various engines, initially adopting a Hispano-Suiza 8 V8 engine.

Albert Ball

One of WW1’s S.E.5 pilots was Albert Ball. Albert Ball, VC, DSO & Two Bars, MC (14 August 1896 – 7 May 1917) was an English fighter pilot during the First World War. At the time of his death he was the United Kingdom's leading flying ace, with 44 victories, and remained its fourth-highest scorer behind Edward Mannock, James McCudden, and George McElroy.

Born and raised in Nottingham, Ball joined the Sherwood Foresters at the outbreak of the First World War and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in October 1914.

On 23 April 1917, Ball was under strict orders to stay over British lines, but still engaged the Germans five times in his Nieuport. In his first combat that day, using his preferred belly shot, he sent an Albatros into a spin, following it down and continuing to fire at it until it struck the ground. It was No. 56 Squadron's first victory. Regaining an altitude of 5,000 feet (1,500 m), he tried to dive underneath an Albatros two-seater and pop up under its belly as usual, but he overshot, and the German rear gunner put a burst of 15 bullets through the Nieuport's wings and spars. Ball coaxed the Nieuport home for repairs, returning to battle in an S.E.5. In his third combat of the day, he fired five rounds before his machine gun jammed. After landing to clear the gun, he took off once more, surprising five Albatros fighters and sending one down in flames. His fifth battle, shortly thereafter, appeared inconclusive, as the enemy plane managed to land safely. However, its observer had been mortally wounded.

Three days later, on 26 April, Ball scored another double victory, flying S.E.5 no. A4850, and one more on 28 April. This last day's fighting left the S.E.5 so battered by enemy action that it was dismantled and sent away for repair. The following month, despite continual problems with jamming guns in the S.E.5s, Ball shot down seven Albatroses in five days, including two reconnaissance models on 1 May, a reconnaissance plane and an Albatros D.III fighter on 2 May; a D.III on 4 May, and two D.IIIs the next day, 5 May. The second of these victims nearly rammed Ball as they shot it out in a head-on firing pass. As they sped past one another, Ball was left temporarily blinded by oil spraying from the holed oil tank of his craft. Clearing the oil from his eyes, he flew his S.E.5 home with zero oil pressure in an engine on the brink of seizure. He was so overwrought that it was some time after landing before he could finish thanking God, then dictating his combat report.

While squadron armourers and mechanics repaired the faulty machine-gun synchroniser on his most recent S.E.5 mount, A8898, Ball had been sporadically flying the Nieuport again, and was successful with it on 6  May, destroying one more Albatros D.III in an evening flight to raise his tally to 44. He had continued to undertake his habitual lone patrols, but had of late been fortunate to survive. The heavier battle damage that Ball's aircraft were now suffering bore witness to the improved team tactics being developed by his German opponents. Some time on 6 May, Ball had visited his friend Billy Bishop at the latter's aerodrome. He proposed that the pair attack the Red Baron's squadron at its airfield at dawn, catching the German pilots off guard. Bishop agreed to take part in the daring scheme at the end of the month, after he returned from his forthcoming leave. That night, in his last letter to his father, Ball wrote "I do get tired of always living to kill, and am really beginning to feel like a murderer. Shall be so pleased when I have finished".

Armistice Day

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Friday, 2 November 2018

Stainless Steel elevated to the height of luxury by Jeff Koons

Jeffrey Koons is an American artist known for working with popular culture subjects and his reproductions of banal objects—such as balloon animals produced in stainless steel with mirror-finish surfaces. He lives and works in both New York City and his hometown of York, Pennsylvania.

His works have sold for substantial sums, including at least one world record auction price for a work by a living artist. On November 12, 2013, Koons's Balloon Dog (Orange) sold at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York City for US$58.4 million, above its high US$55 million estimate, becoming the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction. The price topped Koons's previous record of US$33.7 million and the record for the most expensive living artist, held by Gerhard Richter, whose 1968 painting, Domplatz, Mailand, sold for US$57.1 million at Sotheby's on May 14, 2013. Balloon Dog (Orange) was one of the first of the Balloon dogs to be fabricated, and had been acquired by Greenwich collector Peter Brant in the late 1990s.

‘He's taken stainless steel — originally recognised as a modest material — and elevated it to the height of luxury,’ he begins. ‘Typically, luxury is consumed as a vehicle for transformation. In Koons’s work, we see exquisite process become the vehicle for the transformation of value (Scott Rothkopf)

The artist, himself, makes it hard not to side with his cynics. With his actor-model good looks and pristine custom-made suits, he further shirks the image of the subversive artist with remarks like, ‘Follow your bliss and it will take you to the true reality’ or ‘Weakness is not reaching the highest state of consciousness’. Of Made in Heaven, he says the work is about ‘the removal of guilt and shame.’  He distinctly backs away from the form of conventional art dialogue as well as comparison to his contemporaries, preferring to think about his work in the context of Picasso, Goya, and Duchamp.

As the artist himself explains, ‘The key impetus is the interior gaze. The journey inward offers confidence to take in the outside world.’

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Friday, 26 October 2018

How bra and girdle tech, along with woven stainless steel, made the very first space suits

Bra and girdle technology and seamstresses on Singer sewing machines weaving Stainless Steel cloth were integral to NASA’s first spacesuits.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are known for many things; being fashion plates isn’t one of them. When the Apollo 11 astronauts made their giant leap for mankind in 1969, however, they were wearing a type of “space couture” that shared a history - and, indeed, many of the same seamstresses - with what was essentially the Spanx of the time.

The seamstresses, who made the spacesuit cloth, had to piece together 21 gossamer-thin layers of highly technical fabrics — including a Teflon-coated silica-fiber cloth and a woven form of stainless steel — by “nesting them together like a Russian doll,” De Monchaux says. And they just used regular Singer sewing machines.

When ILC conducted its seamstress auditions, it preferred women — and it was always women — who had “extreme skill over extreme experience,” Lewis says. “[ILC and NASA] can teach someone who has very high skill level in sewing but they can’t unteach bad habits.

A single mistake, especially one that damaged the fibers, could result in a discarded suit. Work would have to start all over again. “There’s no seconds outlet for spacesuits like there is for bra manufacturers,” Lewis quips.

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Friday, 19 October 2018

Harry Brearley - the father of Stainless Steel

Steelworker’s son Harry Brearley was on a mission - to create a metal that could resist heat.

In 1912, a small arms manufacturer asked Brearley’s company to find a material for rifle barrels that would not be eroded by high temperatures. Luckily he was a metallurgy obsessive. After leaving school aged 12 to become a laboratory bottle washer at the Sheffield steelworks where his father worked, he went to night classes to learn his trade.  At the time cutlery was made from silver or plated with nickel and had to be polished. Sharp knives were made from carbon steel and would rust.

Brearley found his new alloy was not just rust- and heat-resistant but also repelled household acids such as vinegar and lemon juice.  He immediately realised the implications for the cutlery industry. After months of experiments adding chromium to steel in August 1913 he created a new alloy, which he called Rustless Steel. An old school friend who had been helping him at Brown Firth Research lab suggested he call it Stainless Steel

he discovery was to revolutionise the metallurgy industry and become a fixture of the modern world. It was quickly adopted by the British military for use in guns. Similar alloys were developed in Germany and the US, but Brearley is regarded as the father of stainless steel.

After falling out with his employers over patent rights, he became a director of another steel firm. He died in 1948 aged 77. 


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