The Fourth State of Matter

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One of the flame cutting services we offer at Sullivan Precision Plate is High Definition Plasma. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to dive into the complex process of plasma cutting (with the help of our friends from How Stuff Works).

This week, we’re going to take a quick chemistry lesson. Most of us know the three states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. Many of us forget, however, the fourth state of matter: plasma. Plasma is what happens when you heat a gas to an extremely high temperature.

Image from GRINP.

The energy begins to break apart the gas molecules, and the atoms begin to split. Normal atoms are made up of protons and neutrons in the nucleus surrounded by a cloud of electrons. In plasma, the electrons separate from the nucleus and begin to move around quickly, leaving behind their positively charged nuclei. These positively charged nuclei are known as ions. When the fast-moving electrons collide with other electrons and ions, they release vast amounts of energy. This energy is what gives plasma its unique status and unbelievable cutting power.

Next week: Inside a plasma cutter.

Breakthrough in Micro-Sized, Liquid Metal Particles for Heat-Free Soldering

Posted on Categories Energy, Metals, News, TechnologyTags , , , , , , ,

Martin Thou, and his lab, have a philosophy that guides all of their exploration and innovation in the world of engineering and high-level science. Their philosophy is, “How do you do very high-level science or engineering with very little?” Another guiding principle is, “Whenever possible, nature should do pat of the work.” And, these exact philosophies and guiding ideas have played a major part in their new breakthrough, micro-sized metal particles that can be used for heat-free soldering.

Thou’s work is often in the realm of renewable energy, energy conservation, and reducing toxic emissions. With heat-free soldering, there is exponentially less energy being used, that was used to power the soldering machines.

Click HERE to read the full story from Science Daily.

Technological Advances in Oregon Could Save Industry Millions

Posted on Categories Energy, Metals, News, TechnologyTags , , ,

An Oregon startup may have developed a technology that could potentially save the specialty metals industry hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs.

The system, developed by KW Associates, is added to titanium and nickel refining furnaces that drastically reduces waste and improves overall safety in the melting process, according to Oregon BEST.

“Our technology could save 40 to 50 percent of the energy currently lost in the use of these furnaces, while improving ingot quality, and reducing much of the $800 million in lost revenue through material waste and associated electrical inefficiencies each year.”

– Paul King, president and CEO of KW Associates.

Click HERE to read the full story.

Original article posted in The Portland Business Journal

Advanced Energy Technologies are Calling for Advanced Metals

Posted on Categories Energy, Metals, TechnologyTags , , , , ,

With technology advancing in energy production, the metals industry has to follow suit.

The metals industry is in need of materials that can match the brutal conditions of the unstable environments that our new energy sources are generating from. Solar, wind, tar sands, water, etc. And since onshore and off shore oil isn’t going away, metal products, in the “traditional” energy categories, are still being used today. Bottom line is, metals in technology are here to stay.

Renewable energy now delivers nearly 13 percent of the electricity in the United States. With this industry advancing, no longer are there one or two manufacturers that are producing parts for renewable and natural energy components. Because of the energy boom, there are more producers, which causes more competition and innovation. It’s a tried and true pattern. When there is competition, there is innovation, because the competition has to differentiate themselves in a way that propels the industry into the future. Think Apple and Microsoft, the space race, etc. Innovation is fueling the metals industry, allowing these advancements in energy technology to reach new territories. We are currently drilling oil in places we could never dream of, all because of metal advancements.

Solar energy is making significant changes as well. Higher quality components, such as wiring and substrates, are boosting efficiency and production. Solar energy is now becoming a mainstream energy producer, being used both by consumers and businesses.

Without metal advancements, there would be no technological advancements in energy.

Click here to read full article from Modern Metals.

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