Aluminum: Helping Push Green Technologies Further

In the past, we’ve talked about how Aluminum has shaped our lives and continues to be part of the cutting edge of future technology. However, it is also helping push green and sustainable technologies further. Here are a few products currently in research that could help replace the existing technologies with sustainable products.

Lightweight Aluminum-Steel Alloy

steel cable

steel cable (photo credit: Wiki Commons)

Around a year ago, scientists in South Korea were able to create a successful steel alloy with aluminum for possible use in several industries, including automotive and aircraft manufacturing. This isn’t the first time someone has thought to add aluminum to steel. In the 1970′s, Soviet scientists had recognized that by blending steel and aluminum, they could forge an extremely strong, but lightweight metal. The only problem was that the metal was extremely brittle, one strong impact and it would shatter rather than bend. This is due to the aluminum and iron atoms fusing to create a tough, crystalline structure that is the culprit behind the brittleness of the aluminum-steel alloy. No one knew how to solve this problem until Hansoo Kim and his team of scientists in South Korea discovered a way. By dispersing the crystals formed in the alloy, the surrounding alloy could insulate the metal from splintering.

The final result of this work is a viable aluminum-steel alloy that is 13 percent less dense than normal steel, and with a comparable strength-to-weight ratio to titanium alloys, making it one of the strongest steel alloys discovered.

Flexible Aluminum-Ion batteries

One of the most interesting ways that aluminum is shaping our future and helping make it more green is the progress we’ve achieved with it in the form of batteries. A new flexible aluminum ion battery has been created and it holds as much energy as a common car battery but recharges in about a minute. Aluminum-ion batteries have been seen as an attractive and sustainable alternative to lithium-ion batteries for a multiple of reasons. For one, aluminum is a much more abundant material, unlike the rare-earths that go into an L-Ion battery. Additionally, it is less reactive, which would mean safer, and less flammable batteries. Finally, aluminum has the ability to store almost three times more energy than its lithium-ion counterpart, and is smaller and lighter than current batteries.

While these technologies are very early in their development, the future that they could help create is fascinating. Imagine, driving a car who has an aluminum alloy frame, increasing gas mileage and safety while making it easier for manufacturers to produce cars. Batteries as thin as a piece of paper powering a device hundreds of times its size. Science fiction is quickly becoming non-fiction.

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Safety Tips for Operating Industrial Equipment

Occupational_Safety_Equipment

 

Each year, there are number of accidents that result from using industrial equipment. Many of these accidents have serious or fatal outcomes and could have been avoided. When it comes to operating industrial equipment, safety is everything. Here are some tips to operating and maintaining industrial equipment properly:

Use the right tools

Many accidents happen because people do not use the right tools for the work at hand. Before you operate any machinery, you should always check that the proper guards and protective devices are intact. If you think any machinery is not safe to use, than do not use it! One way to reduce the number of industrial accidents is by planning ahead and ensuring that the suitable equipment or machinery is available for the task.

Maintain machinery

In order to make sure industrial equipment does not falter or cause injury, it’s important to keep machinery in good condition. As the employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of your employees. If a machine is not operating properly, the equipment should be shut down immediately. However, maintenance of industrial equipment should only be conducted by those who are competent to do the work.

Wear protective gear

The purpose of wearing protective gear is to keep your body safe from harm. There are different kinds of clothing designed to provide protection for different industrial needs. For example, chemical suits are designed to protect your body from exposure to harmful chemicals. Without these suits, it would be near impossible to contain dangerous chemical spills. Workers should always wear the proper protective gear, be that hardhats, safety glasses or hearing protectors.

Train employees properly

Employees should have the knowledge they need to use industrial equipment properly. Lack of knowledge and skills required to use equipment properly can lead to unnecessary accidents, even injuries. Training employees will help to decrease the number of accidents on the job. Think of it this way: the greater the danger, the better the training. For more complicated and high-risk tasks, such as driving fork-lift trucks and operating cranes, training should be provided by a specialist.

In the end, employers have control over the industrial equipment and hiring those to operate equipment. It’s the employers responsibility to provide the proper training as well as the right tools and protective gear to operate industrial equipment safely.

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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