I worked with Nickel Titanium in the 80's & 90's, while designing Antennas for portable VHF radios. Picture those large brick-like UHF/VHF radios used by Police and many municipalities, and recall the protruding 12" over-molded whip antenna. The base structure of these radiating elements is Nickel Titanium Rod, highly flexible, super-strong, and corrosion resistant. It behaves like stainless or surgical steel in outdoor (even salt) environments. Great stuff; we called it NiTi rod.
"Sometimes researchers don't present the full story financially of what a new invention might cost, or maybe they just aren't aware. I guess until it's put into practice"
OH!, you mean like AFTER the contracts are signed & work begins, and then the paying public gets to learn the TRUTH, which was purposely concealed from the outset so that certain individuals, groups could reap the reward, and the rest of us get SCREWED? Is that what you mean to say? Well, there, I said it!!!!!
It seems to be the consensus among our expert readers that this material will be a lot more expensive than researchers think to use. I think maybe they were generous in their estimates. I guess the financial cost will come when and if this material is ever commercially used.
You could very well be right, Jim S. Sometimes researchers don't present the full story financially of what a new invention might cost, or maybe they just aren't aware. I guess until it's put into practice, the full financial impact just won't be known.
I was actually living in SF when they were retrofitting the Bay Bridge. It seemed to take ages and I remember there were probems with it, probably the ones you mention, kenish. The structural design is interesting, let's hope it holds up if there is a big quake.
The newly opened Bay Bridge in San Francisco has nonstructural "fences" on the underside to control sway and loading in high winds. They are in a zig-zag pattern. Interesting that many aircraft have small "fences" in parallel rows on the top of the wing to keep laminar flow attached while on the bridge they're arranged to prevent it!
The Bay Bridge was severly over-budget, IIRC about 5x-6x over the original $1.5bn budget. Schedule slip was bad too, and when defective bolts were discovered early this year there was a political push to open on Labor Day no matter what...some engineers feel that trumped proper corrective action.
3%????? Ask any decent machinist or toolmaker how easy it is to work with nickel and/or titanium, and he'll bend your ear for hours.
As a layperson in this discussion, but having some awareness of fabricating items from these metals, it is very difficult for me to digest ONLY a 3% increase in cost.
Look at some of the recent major road/tunnel/bridge projects in the U.S., most notably, the "Big Dig" in the Boston area. The total cost ballooned to about 100 times the original estimate. Can't believe that the cost of using exotic materials for bridges / structures won't also incur massive cost overruns....
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