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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Open competition to design an automobile seat - Prizes, The global winner gets 6000euros, Two regional winners get 3000Euros

Chemical Company BASF has opened a global car seat design competition in collaboration with several automobile manufacturers. The contest is open to anyone interested in automotive design.  This opportunity invites you to imagine and design your ideas for the automobile seat of the future, using BASF materials in an innovative way.

Alternative link

Original news item and much more via Materials World - IOM3 member house journal, Nov 2012 magazine cover.

More information and free materials at IOM3 & MW

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Strathclyde picks up coveted title on awards night-The University of Strathclyde has been named University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2012.

First in Industry and Applied Research - True to it's motto "A place of useful learning"

Strathclyde picks up coveted title on awards night

The Glasgow institution picked up the coveted title at a ceremony held in London yesterday evening attended by more than 1,000 staff from universities and colleges across the UK.
Judges in the awards were impressed with how Strathclyde’s dedication to working with industry had taken shape over the past year with a series of groundbreaking initiatives.
Its "transformational year" saw the technological institution invest almost £90 million in a Technology and Innovation Centre to unite academia and industry.
The university also established the UK's first Fraunhofer Institute – Europe's largest research contract organisation – through the creation of a Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics.
As well as doubling its research income from business and industry to £6.2 million, Strathclyde was also selected as the exclusive European partner for South Korea's global research and commercialisation programme.
John Gill, editor of Times Higher Education, said the institution's focus on "really meaningful" partnerships with industry "had come together in an impressive way in the past 12 months, and the judges were clear that it was a worthy winner".

Monday, 17 December 2012

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Nanomanufacturing of biomaterials - Review article from Materials Today, November 2012.

It is always interesting and useful to enlarge one's knowledge in the rapidly expanding field of Materials Science and what could be better than a review paper to keep up-to-date.  Here is a link to nanotechnology, nanomanufacturing  and biomaterials.

Nanomanufacturing of biomaterials - Review article - Materials Today

Friday, 26 October 2012

News & Videos: Manufacturing complex 3D metallic structures at nanoscale made possible - Aalto University Finland

Manufacturing complex 3D metallic structures at nanoscale made possible

The fabrication of many objects, machines, and devices around us rely on the controlled deformation of metals by industrial processes such as bending, shearing, and stamping. Is this technology transferrable to nanoscale? Can we build similarly complex devices and machines with very small dimensions?

Scientists from Aalto University in Finland and the University of Washington in the US have just demonstrated this to be possible. By combining ion processing and nanolithography they have managed to create complex three-dimensional structures at nanoscale.
The discovery follows from a quest for understanding the irregular folding of metallic thin films after being processed by reactive ion etching.
– We were puzzled by the strong-width-dependent curvatures in the metallic strips. Usually initially-strained bilayer metals do not curl up this way, explains Khattiya Chalapat from Aalto University.
The puzzle began to unravel when Chalapat noticed, together with Dr. Hua Jiang, that the Ti peak was absent from the EDX spectra of folded Ti/Al bilayers.
Further experiments at the O.V. Lounasmaa Laboratory confirmed that the strips bend upward with strong width-dependent curvatures if the bottom layer of the strips is made more reactive to ions than the top surface.
In nature, similar geometrical effects take place in self-organization directly observable to the human eye. When dandelion flowers bloom, one may try cutting the flower stem into small strips; put them in water, and the strips will fold with observable width-dependent curvatures due to differences in the water absorption between the inside and outside parts of the stem.
Micro-particles of lactose are traped in self-organized structures made from the thin film metal. The scale bar represents 4 micrometers.
– Our idea was to find a way to adapt these natural processes to nanofabrication. This led us to an incidental finding that a focused ion beam can locally induce bending with nanoscale resolution.
The technology has various applications in the fabrication of nanoscale devices. The structures are surprisingly resilient:­ the team found them to be quite sturdy and robust under a variety of adverse conditions, such as electrostatic discharge and heating.
– Because the structures are so small, the coupling and the magnitude of typical nanoscale forces acting on them would be commensurately small, reminds Docent Sorin Paraoanu, the leader of the Kvantti research group, Aalto University.
– As for applications, we have demonstrated so far that these structures can capture and retain particles with dimensions of the order of a micrometer. However, we believe that we are just scratching the tip of the iceberg: a comprehensive theory of ion-assisted self-assembly processes is yet to be reached, notes Paraoanu.
The research has been recently published in the Early View edition of Advanced Materials.
Khattiya Chalapat and Sorin Paraoanu would like to give credit to the Aalto University research facilities for microfabrication and imaging at Micronova Centre for Micro and Nanotechnology and the Nanomicroscopy Center in Finland.
The article online (

Kvantti research group (
Further information:
Khattiya Chalapat, Ph.D. student
O. V. Lounasmaa Laboratory, Aalto University
Sorin Paraoanu, Docent, Group Leader
O. V. Lounasmaa Laboratory, Aalto University

News: Manufacturing complex 3D metallic structures at nanoscale made possible - Aalto University

Tribology_At the Nanoscale, Graphite Can Turn Friction Upside Down_fromNIST

If you ease up on a pencil, does it slide more easily? Sure. But maybe not if the tip is sharpened down to nanoscale dimensions. A team of researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has discovered that if graphite (the material in pencil "lead") is sticky enough, as measured by a nanoscale probe, it actually becomes harder to slide a tip across the material's surface as you decrease pressure—the exact opposite of our everyday experience.
Technically, this leads to an effectively "negative coefficient of friction," something that has not been previously seen, according to team leader Rachel Cannara. Graphite, Cannara explains, is one of a special class of solids called "lamellar" materials, which are formed from stacks of two-dimensional sheets of atoms. The sheets are graphene, a single-atom-thick plane of carbon atoms that are arranged in a hexagonal pattern. Graphene has a number of exotic electrical and material properties that make it attractive for micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems with applications ranging from gas sensors and accelerometers to resonators and optical switches.
Zhao Deng, a University of Maryland postdoctoral researcher at NIST's Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, noted some odd data while experimenting on graphite with an atomic force microscope (AFM). Deng was measuring the friction forces on the nanoscale tip of an AFM tracking across the graphite as he modified the "stickiness" of the surface by allowing tiny amounts of oxygen to adsorb to the topmost graphene layer.
Deng found that when the adhesive force between the graphene and the stylus became greater than the graphene layer's attraction to the graphite below, reducing the pressure on the stylus made it harder to drag the tip across the surface—a negative differential friction.
Backed by theoretical simulations performed by collaborators from NIST and Tsinghua University in Beijing, Cannara's team found that, after the AFM tip has been pressed into the graphite surface, if the attractive force is high enough, the tip can pull a small localized region of the surface layer of graphene away from the bulk material, like raising a nanoscale bubble from the surface. Pushing that deformation around takes more work than sliding over a flat surface. Therefore, whenever the researchers pressed the AFM tip against the sticky graphite surface and then tried to pull the two apart, they measured an increase in friction force with a sensitivity in the tens of piconewtons.
"Once we have a complete model describing how these graphene sheets deform under repeated loading and sliding at the nanoscale—which we're working on now—friction force microscopy may be the most direct way to measure the energy that binds these layered materials together. And, since it's nondestructive, the measurement can be performed on working devices," Cannara says. Understanding how the sheets interact with each other and with other parts of a device would help quantify the energy required to produce individual sheets from bulk material, assess device operation, and assist in formulating new structures based on layered materials, she says.
* Z. Deng, A. Smolyanitsky, Q. Li, X.-Q. Feng and R. J. Cannara. Adhesion-dependent negative friction coefficient on chemically modified graphite at the nanoscale. Nature Materials. Published online: 14 October 2012 | doi:10.1038/nmat3452.

Slip Sliding Our Way: At the Nanoscale, Graphite Can Turn Friction Upside Down

Friday, 19 October 2012

Aero-engine Turbofan - Video shows simple working principles of a modern High By-pass Ratio Turbofan Aero-engine & materials working temperatures

The short video lasts about 3mns.  An we described video for main parts and working of a modern aircraft aero-engine such as those which equip the Airbus A320 family. A background must for aero-engine metallurgists ad materials students and professionals.

The interested viewer may see the air-flow which produces the aircraft thrust. This is done by accelerating the air from the front to the back of the engine largely (80%) by the large fan-propeller at the front of the engine.

The different turbines and blades and their roles within the engine are described. (The low and high pressure compressors (13 stages) which stage by stage increase the pressure as the air flows thru' them.

The combustion chamber where aircraft fuel mixed with air is burned, the high and low pressure turbines in which the hot gas pressure is reduced as they drive the compressors and propeller-fan. There are 5 stages, one high pressure and 4 low pressure. Finally we have the exhaust system.

The concentric shafts which connect the combustion area turbines to the front propeller and turbines are shown.The temperatures  in the turbine stages just before the combustion chamber reach 450°c and within the combustion chamber whose energy drives the fans reaches 1700°C .

More cf the video above.

Reference 1.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Atom probe crystallography - Review article - Materials Today

Atom probe crystallography - Review article - Materials Today

Baptiste Gault, Michael P. Moody, Julie M. Cairney and Simon P. Ringer

Gault et al. address new developments in the emerging area of atom probe crystallography.

This review addresses new developments in the emerging area of “atom probe crystallography”, a materials characterization tool with the unique capacity to reveal both composition and crystallographic structure at the atomic scale. This information is crucial for the manipulation of microstructure for the design of both structural and functional materials with optimized mechanical, electric, optoelectronic, magnetic, or superconducting properties that will find application in, for example, nanoelectronics or energy generation. The ability to extract crystallographic information from 3D atomistic reconstruction has exciting potential synergies with modern modeling techniques, blending experimental and computational methods to extend our insight.

Click here to read the Full Text

Materials Today (2012) 15(9), 378-386

This is just one of the many features the interested reader will find in Elsevier's free materials science topical subjects magazine

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Institute of Physics have opened their Journal of Physics_Condensed Matter_Highlights for 2011 are freely available to read-download for a limited period (31Dec2012)

The Highlights 2011  are a collection for Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter. They include outstanding papers, fast track communications, topical reviews and special issues published in the journal over the last year. These articles were selected by the Editorial Board on the basis of a range of criteria including referee endorsements, citations and download levels, and simple broad appeal. 

The articles will be free to read until 31 December 2012.

This wealth of 1st class publications are available in the following 10 sub categories:

  • Surface, interface and atomic-scale science
  • Liquids, soft matter and biological physics
  • Nanostructures and nanoelectronics
  • Solid structure and lattice dynamics
  • Electronic structure
  • Correlated electrons
  • Superconductors and metals
  • Semiconductors
  • Dielectrics and ferroelectrics
  • Magnetism and magnetic materials             Read the Editorial Presentation in Pdf

  • FIND the fast track papers at this LINK


    The 20 best Topical Reviews based on downloads, Here but require an IOP subscription, sorry.

    Saturday, 29 September 2012

    Sustainable Materials_with both eyes open_Free to download and read or to buy as hard cover_

    Indispensable addition to  today's Materials Professionals and Designers Library.

    This excellent book may be read for free at the following link

       Download the whole book in one PDF file [25Mb] 

    Reviews may be found both on the book's website above, on the MaterialsToday site where I found reference to this excellent addition to the professional metallurgist, materials scientist and all involved in materials. Further this stimulated my memory as a regular reader of books reviewed by our professional materials scientists, technologists and engineers, members of The Institute- IOM3. Indeed I found  "Sustainable Materials_with both eyes open" reviewed for the Institute by Ian J. Bowbrick, (FIMMM)  Head of Professional Formation at The Royal Academy of Engineering

    Executive summary by Ian who noted this book 10/10 which is an unusually high score.

    "The story concludes by looking at the role business policymakers and individuals have in creating a sustainable materials future. The approach in ‘taking the fight’ to business is deftly handled. Realistically the authors cite that cost savings are too weak a driver for action by business and call on policymakers to kick-start the actions required. To this end, they propose a robust and detailed five-point plan. The story finishes with a useful pro-forma checklist for professionals looking to make a difference. 

    I found this book to be well researched with reasoned and compelling arguments. Allwood and Cullen are to be congratulated on delivering a methodology that can be regarded as a paradigm shift to a new way of teaching and understanding materials science in the post-fossil fuel era society is now entering. This is essential reading for both student and practitioner, particularly those in senior management positions. 10/10." 

    NB. For a full list of book reviews by IOM3 professionals all fully available to the interested specialist, non-member or motivated general public here is the

    Hope you have and enjoyable and profitable read.

    Friday, 28 September 2012

    Key facts about the Steel industry from the World Steel Association

    As Europe struggles in the face of high growth emerging economies - "Europe
    and the United States show a weakness in both GDP and industrial production as GDP is forecast to grow less than 2.0% in both 2011 and 2012, as opposed to an expected 9.0% and 7.5% growth in 2012 for China and India, respectively. (Ref 1. World Economic Outlook: Slowing Growth, Rising Risks, IMF, September 2011." whose role in economic downturns have been severely criticised by Nobel Economist Joseph Stieglitz as one of a bad lot of players, The Major US Bankers, their  followers, The anti-regulation lobby (lubby) The Frankenstein Labs for Innovation & Creativity of Wall Street, dixit JS)

    I feel that I owe an atonement for neglecting this indispensable association of  the worlds steelmakers is ever more a necessity.

    cf. links below taken from their website - many important reports and statistics are freely available.

    Before the reader rushes down to these links let me draw your attention to the green background. Whether intentional or I surmise not, I was already thinking along these such a line. Environmental demands which must be brought to bare on these brave tough masculine environments.  Indeed the world Steel Association has drawn up a report entitled " Sustainable-steel-at-the-core-of-a-green-economy"


    in particular let me draw the readers attention to Page 36 of the report


    I trust this may be of some help in our troubled Europe, in which the conservatives have raised a "hue & cry" for improved competitivity - ie more flexibility->lower wages (on average) at the lower levels, less people etc. Out side the industry the cry has reached top management (automobile industry - probably already squeezing the steelmaker to death- However I have never heard those who flex their vocal muscles and their financial clout to the extent of taking a huge cut in salary of the order of the crises they are so keen to underline.

    I trust not everyone will enjoy reading this! 

    Key facts about the Steel industry

    Monday, 24 September 2012

    Steel Research and how metallurgy helps you live longer_Free critical review of hot stamping technology and its integration with coating systems from Wiley_ Automobile Applications

    "How Metallurgy Helps You Live Longer" is the title of the introduction to Tim Adams editor of Wiley's Journal Steel research International in his Materials Views "blog" 

    The critical review was written by by Prof. Bruno De Cooman and Dr. Dong Wei Fan of Pohang University of Science and Technology (FREE access). It provides a comprehensive review of steel hot stamping technology and its integration with coating systems is given, including Zn-Ni coatings, hybrid sol-gel coatings, recently developed Al–Zn alloy coatings and dual layer Zn–Al and Zn–Al–Mg coatings.  The authors include discussions of the weldability, paintability, and corrosion resistance of these systems, making this an important article for manufacturers and engineers alike.
    This is a paper well woth reading and addint to our personal professional library
    PDFLink to the original paper on Wiley Online Library

    Friday, 7 September 2012

    Nano-material molecular electric conductivity is predicted to offer up to four times bulk conductivity depending on the material-molecules

    The following news release from Brookhaven National Lab entitled

    "Electronics Play By a New Set of Rules at the Molecular Scale"

    September 2, 2012, By Aviva Hope Rutkin"
    Nano-material molecular electric conductivity is predicted to offer up to four times bulk conductivity depending on the material-molecules
    atomic-scale model
    Click on the image to download a high-resolution version.Atomic scale visualization of the single molecule junctions formed with two equivalent pathways (left) and one pathway (right), including the bonding to the tips of two gold electrodes and a schematic of the external electrical circuit.
    In a paper published in Nature Nanontechnology onSeptember 2, 2012, scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Columbia University’s departments of Chemistry and of Applied Physics explore the laws that govern electronic conductance in molecular scale circuits.
    “Everyone who has worked with basic electronic circuits knows that there are some simple rules of the road, like Ohm’s Law,” explains collaborator Mark Hybertsen, a physicist at Brookhaven’sCenter for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN). Hybertsen provided the theory to model the observed circuit behavior with the CFN’s computational tools. “For several years we have been asking fundamental questions to probe how those rules might be different if the electronic circuit is shrunk down to the scale of a single molecule.”
    Conductance measures the degree to which a circuit conducts electricity. In a simple circuit, if you hook the resistors up in parallel, the electrons can flow through two different paths. In this case, the conductance of the full circuit will simply be the sum of the conductance of each resistor. 
    However, in a molecular circuit, the rules that govern current flow now involve fundamental quantum mechanics. In most single-molecule circuits, the molecules do not behave like conventional resistors; instead, the electrons tunnel through the molecule. When the molecule offers two pathways in parallel, the wave-like movement of an electron can dramatically change the way conductance adds up. For several years, experts in nanotechnology have suspected—but not proven—that quantum interference effects make the conductance of a circuit with two paths up to four times higher than the conductance of a circuit with a single path.
    In order to investigate these quantum mechanical effects further, the scientists needed to construct their own controllable nano-size circuits. Working with Ronald Breslow’s group at Columbia, they designed and synthesized a series of molecules to use in the experiment.
    “Reliably making a circuit from a single molecule is really challenging,” says Latha Venkataraman, a Columbia Engineering Applied Physics professor whose group perfected the method used to make the molecular circuits. “Imagine trying to touch the two ends of a molecule that is only ten atoms long.”
    To make the circuits, Venkataraman’s group adapted a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) apparatus to repeatedly press a sharp gold tip into another gold electrode and then pull it away. When this junction breaks, there is a moment when the gap between the two pieces of gold is a perfect fit for the molecule. Once the circuit system is set up, the conductance measurement is fast and can be repeated thousands of times to get statistically reliable data.
    Using this approach, the scientists discovered that the molecules with two built-in pathways like the one visualized in the figure at right had a conductance that was greater than the sum of each arm’s conductance, although the increase was not as large as they had anticipated. In order to understand this effect better, Columbia’s Hector Vasquez worked with Hybertsen to computationally simulate the quantum mechanical transmission of an electron through each circuit.
    “Both the measurements and the simulations show that the molecules with two parallel paths can have a conductance that is bigger than two times that of molecule with a single path,” said Hybertsen. “This is the signature that the quantum interference effect is playing a role.”
    The group suspects that other factors, such as the nature of the molecule’s bond to the electrodes, need to be considered when calculating the conductance of a molecular circuit. They are currently looking into other central questions about molecular electronics, including how the device changes when different metals are used. 
    This research was funded primarily by the National Science Foundation and the New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research. Columbia’s Rachid Skouta and Severin Schneebeli synthesized the experiment molecules with Ronald Breslow and Masha Kamanetska carried out the conductance measurements. The CFN at Brookhaven Lab is supported by the DOE’s Office of Science. ""
    Refs: brough to my attention by:

    Thursday, 6 September 2012

    Green economies around the world? Implications of material resources use for development and the environment.

    Allow me to bring to my colleagues attention and especially to my fellow members of the IOM3-Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining  the following comprehesive free report on global materials activity.

    "The report addresses three main issues:
    1. Patterns of material extraction, trade, consumption and resource productivity in
    different world regions and countries;
    2. Connections between material use and indicators of economic and social development;
    3. Links between material use and selected major environmental problems, such as
    carbon emissions, land use change and water use."


    The Report entitled Green Economies Around the World (pdf) 

    More from ZUNIA
    Green economies around the world? Implications of resource use for development and the environment -

    Wednesday, 4 July 2012

    Higgs particle found_Higgs right_Hiesenberg Wrong on the God Particle!_History made and more in the making_


     Published on 4 Jul 2012 by CERNTV Soundbytes from the interviews to Peter Higgs, Francois Englert, Carl Hagen and Gerald Guralnik, recorded at CERN on the announcement of the latest results from ATLAS and CMS on the Higgs boson searches.

    This is certainly The Materials Matter of  2012 and perhaps the most far reaching discovery of the last 50y or more.  It brings to the fore Peter Higgs' (et al.) courageous theoretical prediction  in 1964 of an undetected (and undetectable until now) particle named commonly as "Higgs' Boson" It's importance is such in terms of  human understanding of the universe and furthering of knowledge of life itself. Seeking this most elusive particle has pulled together massive investment, motivating record breaking science technology and engineering experimental performance at CERN's  LHC  (Large Hadron Collider) This discovery will certainly make the 4th of July 2012 a date on the Nobel Prize award agenda, it confirms previous approaches and points the way to further astounding progress. A material that matters indeed. 

    YouTube Video Wall Link below
    CERN-Best of Higgs Field Theory physicists.


    4 July 2012 Last updated at 10:48 GMT
    Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider claim the discovery of a particle believed to be the long-sought Higgs boson.
    Rolf Heuer, director-general of Cern, said "As a layman I would now say I think we have it."
    Peter Higgs, after whom the particle is named, said it was incredible that this has happened in his lifetime.

    4 July 2012 Last updated at 11:44 GMT
    Professor Brian Cox reacted with delight to the news that physicists at Cern have discovered a new particle consistent with the Higgs boson.
    Professor Cox told the BBC the discovery was a significant moment in the history of science and a vindication of the work carried out with the Large Hadron Collider.

    13 December 2011 Last updated at 21:19 GMTHelp
    Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva have announced that they believe they have "tantalising hints" of the Higgs boson.
    Martin Archer, a space physicist at Imperial College London, explains why the Higgs boson is so important.

    3 July 2012 Last updated at 19:56 GMTHelp
    Professor Jim Al-Khalili talks to the BBC's Pallab Ghosh about what the Higgs boson is and why confirming its existence is so important for physicists.

    Monday, 14 May 2012

    Learn the Fundamentals of Corrosion and Corrosion Control - from NASA's Corrosion Technology Lab.

    Just received a reminder from my COMSOL news letter and blog of just how good a job the NASA's Corrosion Technology Lab. at  the Kennedy Space Center has done in summarizing the fundamentals of corrosion, describing different types of corrosion that can occur, and how they do occur, all well illustrated. Many of you may have heard of Galvanic and pitting corrosion, but what about filiform corrosion ? Thanks to COMSOL and NASA I too am a little wiser.  

    Here is the full menu offered by the NASA's Corrosion Technology Lab. cf contents below:

    A permanent link may be found in my side bar entitled: Materials Science and Eng. Free Online Journals-Resources

    Thursday, 3 May 2012

    Rare Earth Overview Supply Chain and Price: “Cradle to Grave” the Whole Life Cycle Approach

    Critical mass -rare earth elements." 01 January 12, Materials World Magazine -Members only feature- by Prof. Animesh Jha’s is an excellent succinct overview of the wide and complex fields involving Rare Earth Elements,(REE’s)  Jha provides pointers and answers to many aspects in his near “cradle to grave” approach.

    The issues at hand

    “There are constant warnings about the risks of exhausting supply of vital resources, including the impact on our way of life. Professor Animesh Jha, from the Institute for Materials Research at the University of Leeds, UK, examines the sources of rare earth elements and the research driving their use in emerging technologies.” 

    Prof. A. Jha provides pointers and answers to the following 5W’s type questions
    on REE:

    What they are, why they are important and to whom, what is global demand now and in the future (when), past present and future price evolution, based upon recent results and sustainability consideration in terms of resources and competition for energy, renewable energy.  

    What they are: Fig1 below shows their position in the periodic table of elements (interactive memory refresher link)

    Fig2 RHS. shows the relative abundance in the earths crust (not the ease of  economical exploration and mining)


    -Electron Configuration               Nuclear Structures.

    Why they are important and to whom
                           -Motivation for Change and Innovation.

    Prof. Jha focuses our attention on the essential role played by REE in a modern sustainable economy, quote: ”The REE supply chain (directly) affects three main sectors of the world economy –, 2. health, and 3. digital and indirectly via 1 and 2 impacts upon the natural and built environments, and therefore on long-term climate change.” A powerful motor for growth is: “the world’s desire for developing cleaner and more energy efficient magnetic and electronic devices, including: displays, computer hard drives, wind turbines, fuel cells, hydrogen storage materials, efficient high-power lasers and amplifiers for materials processing and optical communication systems...” 

    “Scientifically (and this is an important factor to achieving successful results) the 17 REE’s are inspiring due to their rather unusual combination of properties, manifested by their electronic and nuclear structures. This explains why they have found a multitude of applications in technology.” ( as above list)

    We can safely deduce that such materials are promised an impressive long-term future due to their role in the "indispensables devices of modern life" and the coming “green technology”.

    What is (cf. Fig3). Global Supply and Demand, production tonnage, evolution and projection, relative supply share and market share  )

    “China is the current major player in the supply of these elements.” Indeed this situation has stimulated energetic response from the rest of the world-ROW (JOBS?) in order to avoid or at least attenuate the probable OPEP like position held by China.  

    How to alleviate resource availability_Solutions.

    Prof. Jha makes a clear case for finding new sources of REEs and for recycling them due to their importance in order to achieve a sustainable economy.

    His analysis is succinct but all main issues are introduced, His arguments are based upon market dependence, technical, geological and mining considerations of these not so rare but unevenly distributed minerals and last but not least politico-economic issues.

    Western Europe, with limited rich natural resources the REO (rare earth oxides) supply tends to focus on recycling, especially from materials at the end of life.

    JOBS and Training for R and D, Minerals Exploration, Mining and Materials, Industries and Commerce.

    “Although recycling REOs is an important area for growing new types of commercial activities, it is unlikely to meet the rising demands in the energy and digital sectors”. (I translate this as a source of much needed SUSTAINABLE JOBS. 

    “If Europe focuses on research and development for cleaner technology based on REEs, there might be a joint opportunity to work with major mining companies outside China (95% of REE mineral sources) for creating healthy competition and industry.” 

    I guess there is an excellent opportunity for Jobs here– I recently learned that an old university classmate, instead of taking a well earned retirement, decided to take a position with as Senior Project Manager with a Canadian Rare Earth Exploration Company member of The Rare Earth Industry and Technology Association, RITA,based in Colarado,USA.

    The EU and naturally the UK situation are focused upon:

    -Critical materials for the energy and transport sectors (wind turbines, hybrid cars, hydrogen storage, catalytic converters in auto-motives and fuel cell devices, and solid-state lighting are listed

    -Need to create research and development capabilities and new opportunities for REE business is strongly recommended by UK’s Chemistry, Materials, and Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Networks (KTN-Innovation Strategy) KTN-Innovation Strategy Board_Free sign to browse and contribute:


    Development of research and development capability in the UK and the rest of western Europe has already started.

    REE Companies (UK)

    Companies Processing Industrially RE Minerals UK
    - Less Common Metals Company in UK is a major rare earth metal producer, now part of  Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.



    Process steps from Ore benefication to application and market through Oxide, Metal, and Alloy (Fig 4. opposite)

    - Metalysis Limited exploits the The Fray-Farthing-Chen (FFC) Cambridge Process which is a new process for the extraction of metals and alloys from their solid oxides by molten salt electrolysis. (cathodic dissociation of metal oxides for electrowinning of metals)
    (Fig 5) The process has a high potential. Initial step up to industrial scale-up has been encouraging with much sought after lower cost Titanium for defence and transport applications. 

    Rhodia in France  (member of the  Belgian Solvay Group) is a major player in Rare Earth earth production and marketing. ( Rhodia has recently reached agreement(s) with China Rare Metals and Rare Earth Co., (Dec 12, 2011) with China Rare Metals and Rare Earth Co., Ltd. which is the wholly-owned subsidiary of CHINALCO aiming at integrating and developing the rare earth industry in China.

    2 Key features of emerging trends in REE Process Metallurgical research in the UK according to Jha are :

        1. - The long history of hydrogen storage and magnetic materials research at the University of Birmingham, led by Emeritus Professor Rex Harris, has now been successfully used in recycling neodymium magnets through a Technology Strategy Board project 



        2. -   The FFC Cambridge Process has led to commercial exploitation by Metalysis Ltd., UK. The highly desirable electrochemical technique is used for further purification of the RE Oxides  RE and RE metals mixture into component metals or alloys, including the production of RE magnetic alloys. The range of Metal Oxides and Minerals is not limited to Rare Earths but can be used to process many otherwise difficult to process metals

    NB.  For the student or professional reader wishing to pursue  FFC Cams process work and Electrowinning in general many papers are freely available via internet eg.

    NB.    EU-France: Recycling Rare Earth Magnets
    or again 

    Prof Jha’s own pioneering work and approach read in rare elements from waste

    “Professor Jha said that not capturing these rare earth by-products will soon no longer be an option. “Worldwide richer grades of titanium dioxide minerals are disappearing fast which means we have to process lower grades of titaniferous minerals and extract the REO as co-product and not waste them.”

    Valuable rare-earth raw materials extracted from industrial waste stream  15th Dec 09

    A related approach to determine valuable resources from industrial waste is underway at Durham Uni by The Geochemical Reclamation of Industrial Minerals & Elements (GRIME) research group. (reminds me of our mineral 

     Resources from Waste

    A longer article entitled "Not costing the Earth - unconsidered waste materials" in 01 January 12, Materials World Magazine, cf below.


    It is impossible to contemplate a future without rare earth elements. 

    Although there is a research initiative within the EU that is inviting bids for basic research and development in extending knowledge, which aims to supersede the performance of REO- and metal-based devices. If successful, it will be a disruptive technology with a time-scale of market entry for such technologies of at least 10 years. 

    In the meantime the new and emerging REO must progress within the EU to support industry.

    Geological survey and exploration must continue within the EU and with trading partners for developing novel means of mining and mineral beneficiation. 

    Deep-sea mining, which carries significant risk and expense. Such exploration carries incalculable environment cost, concerning the use of energy intensive equipment and disturbance of the sea bed that is likely to release trapped greenhouse gases.

    The only viable option that remains is to continue exploring terrestrial sites for REEs, recycle, and develop new scientific understanding employing nano-science for economising the use of such sought after materials.

    (Please consult the original paper for full article)


    Excellent Comprehensive Website and Indepth Professional Bibliographic Resources

    The Geologists too are hard at Work

    They also provide advice by asking the question: “Are there alternatives to mining rare earth elements?”

    From the RoyalSociety for Chemistry (RSC)  entitled  Critical Thinking

    "Last October, China started building the world's biggest off-shore wind farm in Bohai Bay, a few hours from Beijing. The country is 

    constructing wind farms on an unprecedented scale - surely good news given its insatiable appetite for coal. But each megawatt of 

    power a wind turbine generates requires up to one tonne of rare earth permanent magnets"


    Critical mass - rare earth elements

    01 January 12, Materials World Magazine, Feature

    Ions shine on - uses of rare earth ions

    01 January 12, Materials World Magazine, Feature

    Rare earth resource

    01 June 10, Materials World Magazine, Feature

    On the surface - preparation of rare earth metals

    01 January 12, Materials World Magazine, Feature

    Rare earth recovery

    01 August 11, Materials World Magazine, Feature

    Rare on Earth? Strategically important metals and education

    03 March 11, Materials World Magazine, Material matters article

    Not costing the Earth - unconsidered waste materials

    01 January 12, Materials World Magazine, Feature

    Just how resourceful are we?

    04 December 11, Materials World Magazine, News article

    High Purity Cr sources for Superalloys

    Energy for th Future:Phil.Trans.A-Vol. 365, N° 1853 / April 15, 2007, curtesy The Royal Soc. London

    Engineered foams and porous materials: Phil Trans A. Vol 364, N° 1838 / 06 curtesy_The R Soc. Lond