Monday, 13 March 2017

Copying Bone to create a stronger Stainless Steel

Research finds that introducing crack-resisting structures makes steel tougher against fatigue.

(Inside Science) -- Nature has relied on bone to make up skeletons for hundreds of millions of years. Now scientists taking a page from nature have developed a new kind of steel that imitates bone, which resists cracking under repeated pressure for far longer than conventional kinds of steel.

Steel helps make up the skeletons of suspension bridges that are miles long and skyscrapers more than a half-mile tall. However, in many ways, bone outclasses steel. For instance, bone can bear roughly as much weight as stainless steel while weighing four or five times less.

Previous research also found that despite the brittle minerals that bone is mostly made of, it is highly resistant to fractures because of the way in which it is structured. This led study co-author Cem Tasan, a metallurgist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his colleagues to explore whether steel that mimicked bone's structure could prove more resistant to fatigue.

Steel fatigues when it experiences repeated stress -- for instance, when trucks drive over bridges, or when airplanes undergo pressure changes during ascents and descents -- with microscopic cracks forming and growing over time. Many sudden and sometimes life-threatening failures of everything from power plants to spacecraft are due to fatigue. For this reason, these structures are often built with large safety margins that add to costs.

Prior work suggested that bone resists fracturing because its lattice like internal structure keeps cracks from spreading. "If you look at the structure of bone with increasing magnification, you'll see more and more complexity to it as you zoom in," Tasan said. "That's what helps it fight cracks."

To design a bonelike metal alloy, Tasan and his colleagues investigated two kinds of steel with structures comparable to that of bone -- ferrite-cementite pearlitic steel and martensite-austenite transformation-induced plasticity steel. These steels possessed key properties that limited the growth of cracks, Tasan said.

The ferrite-cementite steel is nanolaminated, meaning that its structure is separated into many layers only nanometers, or billionths of a meter, wide. This helps keep cracks from spreading beyond the layers where they start.

The martensite-austenite steel is metastable, which means that one of the kinds of crystal making up its structure can switch between different states of stability. This helps the steel absorb the energy of spreading cracks and even close them back up.

And finally, both these kinds of steel are multiphase, which means that they have multiple kinds of crystals in their structure with different levels of hardness. This means that when cracks want to spread, they prefer not to do so in straight lines. Since the resulting fractures cover more area, they experience more friction against their surroundings, decelerating their growth.

The scientists then developed a new alloy that combined all three of these properties. On its smallest levels, this steel was composed of layers just 100 to 300 nanometers wide. (In comparison, the average human hair is about 100,000 nanometers in diameter.)

The researchers found that their new alloy was significantly more resistant to cracking than a type of steel typically used in automobile bodies. When subjected to repeated cycles of stress, the automotive steel developed microscopic cracks after roughly 10,000 to 100,000 cycles, while the new alloy only did so after about 10 million cycles, said study lead author Motomichi Koyama at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan.

"This is a truly fantastic piece of research," said materials scientist Daolun Chen at Ryerson University in Toronto, who did not take part in this study. This work could lead to the development of advanced fatigue-resistant steels that "will have important implications for load-bearing structural applications in the automotive and aerospace industry," Chen said.

Future research can better control the metallurgical processes to manufacture this new steel and related alloys to prevent the formation of impurities that can weaken them, Tasan said.

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Friday, 3 March 2017

Stainless Steel T-Shirts turned into Radios? whatever next!

Posters and t-shirts are being turned into (very) local FM radio stations

What if a band's poster could actually transmit a sample of their music to your phone, or your t-shirt could monitor your vital signs while you exercise? Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have pioneered a technique where everyday objects can be embedded with transmitters that piggyback ambient FM signals to send data to nearby smartphones and radios using almost no power.

The technique makes used of backscattering, which is the reflection of waves, particles, or signals back in the direction they came from. The system uses a low-power reflector to encode specific audio or data on top of reflected signals from an existing FM broadcast, with the data sent on an adjacent band so as not to interrupt any current radio transmissions. The key benefit of the technology is that it has an extraordinarily low level of power consumption, meaning that it can easily be incorporated into everyday objects at a low cost.

"The challenge is that radio technologies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and conventional FM radios would last less than half a day with a coin cell battery when transmitting," says study co-author and UW electrical engineering doctoral student Vikram Iyer. "So we developed a new way of communication where we send information by reflecting ambient FM radio signals that are already in the air, which consumes close to zero power."

The antennas are made of thin copper tape and can be simply embedded into objects like advertising posters or articles of clothing. Initial demonstrations of the technique showed the total power consumption of a transmitter embedded into a poster to be as little as 11 microwatts – an output that could run uninterrupted off a small coin-cell battery for two years.

The team at UW has previously showed how an ambient backscatter technique can convert existing TV and cellular signals into electricity, allowing for battery-free sensors to be embedded into objects. This latest innovation excitingly evolves that technique allowing objects to send more complex information on top of existing radio frequencies.

"What we want to do is enable smart cities and fabrics where everyday objects in outdoor environments – whether it's posters or street signs or even the shirt you're wearing – can 'talk' to you by sending information to your phone or car," explains Shyam Gollakota, one of the lead authors in the research.

Using materials such as conductive threads, these flexible FM antennas can be woven into fabrics, creating smart clothes that sense a wearer's vital signs and transmit information to a nearby smartphone. The low-power consumption of the system means that such clothing wouldn't require large batteries, allowing them to become much more functional as wearable items.
The antennas can be woven into textiles creating smart fabrics that track vital body signs and...

The UW team has produced two working proof-of-concept prototypes demonstrating the technology. The first was dubbed a "singing poster" that transmitted portions of a band's music to a smartphone up to 12 ft (3.6 m) away, or a car up to 60 ft (18 m) away.

Stainless Steel fibres:
The second demonstration involved sewing a conductive three-ply thread made of Stainless Steel fibers into a cotton t-shirt. The fibers were chosen specifically as they don't oxidize, enabling the garment to be easily washed with no damage to the transmitter. The smart t-shirt was found to be able to transmit data at rates up to 3.2 kilobits per second to a nearby smartphone.

The combination of such minimal power consumption with the piggy backing of FM signals that are so pervasively present in modern cities, make this an innovation that takes us one step closer to a world filled with smart objects that communicate information instantly as soon as they are approached.

(Rich Haridy March 2nd, 2017)

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Monday, 27 February 2017

Stainless Steel Space Armor for Hubble Telescope

Improving Hubble’s Space Armor

When astronauts returned to Hubble for Servicing Mission 4 in 2009, they revamped and reenergized the telescope for the final leg of its journey. One of the tasks was the installation of New Outer Blanket Layers, or NOBLs.

Since its deployment, Hubble’s thermal blankets have taken the brunt of the harsh space environment. Extreme temperature swings, solar radiation, and micro-meteoroids have been slowly degrading the telescope’s protective covering. By examining blankets returned from prior servicing missions, NASA engineers have determined much of the deterioration is actually cosmetic.

How the Blankets Protect Hubble
The primary purpose of Hubble’s thermal blankets is to protect Hubble’s sensitive components from the harsh environmental effects of space. The blankets do this by reflecting the sun’s energy during the daylight portion of Hubble’s orbit around the Earth, retaining just enough heat to keep the components from getting too cold during its night-time orbit, and protecting the telescope from radiation and orbital debris.

It is the meticulously designed construction of the thermal blanketing that enables it to withstand the dangers of space. Sixteen thin layers of dimpled aluminised Kapton material are covered by an outer aluminised Teflon shell, altogether measuring less than one-tenth of an inch thick. Many of Hubble’s components are extremely temperature-sensitive, so this insulation has been essential in allowing the telescope to operate as efficiently as possible.

The NOBLs to be installed during Servicing Mission 4 are different from the original multi-layer blanketing, but they will perform the same job. These consist of one layer of specially coated Stainless Steel foil trimmed to fit particular doors on Hubble’s instrument bay. Instead of removing and replacing old thermal blankets, astronauts will simply install the NOBLs over them, creating a new and improved outer layer of blanketing. This process is more time efficient than removing and replacing blankets altogether.

Hubble has just captured a 30th anniversary image of supernova 1987A (see attached images)

Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, Supernova 1987A is the nearest supernova explosion observed in hundreds of years. It marked the end of the life of a massive star and sent out a shockwave of ejected material and bright light into space. The light finally reached Earth on 23 February 1987 — like a cosmic blast from the past.

The initial burst of light from the supernova illuminated the rings. They slowly faded over the first decade after the explosion, until the shock wave of the supernova slammed into the inner ring in 2001, heating the gas to searing temperatures and generating strong X-ray emission. Hubble’s observations of this process shed light on how supernovae can affect the dynamics and chemistry of their surrounding environment, and thus shape galactic evolution.

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Friday, 17 February 2017

Stainless Steel keeping watch over the Hudson River

A sculpture called "The Watch" was presented on the terrace of the ninth floor of the Flag Art Foundation at the "Changing Subjects” exhibition until December 2016 in New York. The stainless steel sculpture represents a rescue watch, which looks over the Hudson River with the binoculars. The two-meter-high and 270-kilo object of stainless steel was manufactured in the Schmees Foundry in Germany with locations in Langenfeld and Pirna.

"The Watch" was created by the internationally known artist duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. Following the sculpture "Han", which is the male counterpart to the Mermaid in Copenhagen and presented in Helsingor in 2012, the rescue swimmer is the second work commissioned by Elmgreen and Dragset at Schmees. And the next work is already in process: "The Tragende" or "The Weight of Oneself" with a size of well over 2.60 meters which is to be delivered to California in May 2017. "The Watch" was handcrafted over a several number of months and according to Schmees, the refinement of the sculpture clearly displays the high demands of the casters while creating “The Watch”.

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

How to Refurbish a Stainless Steel Cliff Railway

BABBACOMBE Cliff Railway, which has been transporting people from up on Babbacombe Downs to Oddicombe Beach since 1926, has been shut since Christmas undergoing a major, £100,000 refurbishment including the purchase and installation of two new carriages. Manufactured in stainless steel, they are the same design as those being replaced but are expected to have a much longer life and withstand the environment more effectively.

The work has been carried out by specialist contractors, with lots of different companies and people involved. While the carriages themselves are brand new, various other parts have either been sent away for refurbishment and adjustment or serviced on site. A lot has also been done to improve the efficiency and safety of the running gear together with re-cabling the top section of the hauling ropes.

Babbacombe Cliff Railway is owned and run by a Community Interest Company (CIC) and this current project is part of the company's continuing commitment to constantly maintain the railway in the best possible condition and to ensure that the all the safety features are in perfect working order. The work has been financed from ticket and merchandise sales.

Babbacombe Cliff Railway CIC chairman, John Ayres, said: "The CIC took over the running of Babbacombe Cliff Railway nearly eight years ago. We are delighted that the business is thriving and that we are now in a position to be able to afford to carry out this considerable project.

"In 2016 we carried around 120,000 passengers. Not a bad way to celebrate our 90th anniversary.

"We are used extensively by locals and holidaymakers and really do appreciate the public's patience while we are closed but it has been necessary to coordinate five specialist contractors to get this work completed."

Babbacombe Cliff Railway will be running again in early March.

Cliff Railway marketing manager, Nicky Allen, said: "Oddicombe Beach is a real destination again these days. Anyone who has been down to Oddicombe Beach over the past couple of years will have noticed the transformation of the area.

"With the stunning beach bar and bistro and the rebuilt beach huts Oddicombe really is a lovely place to be. We experienced a record-breaking year in 2016 and it was lovely to have so many people enjoy travelling with us, the beach, the activities and some of the wonderful events we had down there.

"The truth is we don't expect that demand to dwindle in 2017 and this project, giving us new carriages and a great refurbishment, means that we should be able to continue transporting people up and down the cliffs, in the style they've become accustomed to, for a very long time to come."

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Monday, 30 January 2017

This $250 Million pound Stainless Steel Camera comes with a free house!

So you’re in the market for a shiny new home to entertain friends and knock the vicuna wool socks off business associates. And you don’t care what it costs.

Los Angeles developer Bruce Makowsky has just what you’re looking for. He’ll even sweeten the deal with a wall full of candy in the gaming centre of his latest creation, just unveiled in the celebrity-strewn neighbourhood of Bel Air.

Modestly dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world,” the ultra-luxurious showplace is America’s most expensive home, priced at a quarter of a billion-with-a-“b” dollars.

It comes with a 40-seat home theatre, two fully stocked Champagne/wine cellars, an 85-foot infinity swimming pool flanked by a hydraulic pop-up 18-by-10-foot theatre, and a garage - oops, “auto gallery” — occupied by a dozen cars and 10 motorcycles worth about $30 million. A limited-edition Bugatti Veyron and 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K are among the stars of that show.

Then there’s the practical side of the all-inclusive retreat: oodles of sleeping, eating and relaxing space loaded with every comfort and convenience Makowsky could think of.

Over the top? That’s the whole idea. Until now there’s been nothing to match the calibre of mega-yachts and private jets bought by the world’s wealthiest, he states.

“This home was curated for the ultimate billionaire who wants the best of everything that exists in life.”

Makowsky, who made his millions selling women’s purses, believes he’s checked off all the must-haves for the rolling-in-dough bon vivant. For starters, the trophy residence he designed and built on speculation boasts 270-degree views of mountains, ocean and cityscape from its half-hectare perch in the “coveted enclave” popular among the hundreds of new billionaires Makowsky says are popping up every year. Indoor spectacles include more than 100 art installations curated from around the world, such as the giant stainless-steel Leica camera sculpture by artist Liao Yibai.

The contemporary mega-mansion boasts four levels of indoor and outdoor “nirvana,” according to Makowsky. That means not just all the bells and whistles but enough treats and toys to amuse any sybaritic fun-seeker. There’s a four-lane bowling alley in a spacious entertainment lounge, decorated with brightly coloured candy dispensers, and the 4K Dolby Atmos theatre provides the ultimate immersive audio experience from its sumptuous leather recliners. The entire posh playground is equipped with the most advanced home-tech system in the country, with 150 outdoor and 300 indoor speakers.

Add to that a tranquil massage studio and wellness spa; 17,000 square feet of integrated entertainment decks; a full-time, trained staff of seven, and you’ve got your own personal utopia that you never need to leave, says Makowsky. On the business side of things, there’s a penthouse office that looks out onto a helipad with a real, though non-functioning, Bell 222 chopper. It’s the original Airwolf helicopter from the hit TV series of the 1980s, deactivated and customized to serve as an art installation. Makowsky, who travelled the globe with his team to source the best materials and exclusive pieces for the home, notes the project took four years and a crew of 250 to complete.

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

WOW! a Stainless Steel iPhone 8? yes please!

Apple is rumoured to be swapping aluminium for stainless steel in the iPhone 8

Apple will use stainless steel instead of aluminium for the so-called iPhone 8's metal frame, according to the latest rumour out of the company's East Asia supply chain reported by DigiTimes. (We first spotted it over on Apple Insider)

It would be the first time Apple has used stainless steel since the iPhone 4s, Apple Insider says, and the switch adds credibility to predictions that the iPhone 8 will feature a glass-sandwich design (glass at the front and back of the phone).

DigiTimes hasn't always been correct when it comes to reporting on Apple's future iPhone plans, but KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that stainless steel will be used for high-end models back in September, according to MacRumors.

Kuo said: "As stainless steel has a better look than aluminium and costs more, we expect only high-end new iPhone models to come with a stainless steel frame next year."

The latest rumour from DigiTimes, which cites Taiwanese sources, stems from reports that Apple has changed its supplier, placing orders for stainless steel iPhone casings with manufacturing partner Jabil, instead of its usual supplier Foxconn.

But this contradicts a report from MacRumors, which said Kuo believes that "Foxconn will be the sole supplier of high-end iPhone models next year as the exclusive manufacturer of the new stainless steel frame."

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