Declining sales of stainless steel kitchen appliances are triggering a freefall in nickel prices. Tags have dropped 30 per cent this year, and some traders say prices will drop another 25 per cent by the end of the year. That’s despite announcements of several mine closings: Xstrata in the Dominican Republic. BHP Billion, and Industrial Metallurgical Holding. Nickel producers are getting hit with a double whammy of lower prices and higher costs for sulfuric acid, which is used to extract nickel ores. Refrigerator sales are off 9 per cent this year and electric ovens are off 14 percent.
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
This year's Dupont-sponsored WardsAuto survey of automotive designers and other engineers shows lightweighting dominates the discussion. But which materials will help them meet the 2025 CAFE standards are not entirely clear.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
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