Thursday, August 28, 2008

I did not know that.

Triggered by something he read here yesterday, Charles Pergiel went on a geek safari and turned up an interesting factoid about Scandium...
The original use of scandium-aluminium alloys was in the nose cones of some USSR submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
Huh. I did not know that...

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Also FWIW, they make bike frames with Scandium. Salsa is one brand that comes to mind. The frames aren't *that* much lighter than plain aluminum (maybe half a pound tops), but they're stiffer. Not that much more expensive either.

Chris

Anonymous said...

Ok, just did a quick price check...

The Salsa scandium hardtail frame runs about $700ish. A plain aluminum frame from a big name maker would be pretty close to that. So, it appears there isn't much of a price premium for Scandium in the bike industry at least.

Chris

Tam said...

Scandium doesn't make aluminum lighter, but it does increase its tensile strength dramatically...

Anonymous said...

Huh.

6 years of Metallurgical engineering and this is the first use I hear of Scandium.

I'll have the reaserch that, I can't imagine what use tensile strength is in a nose cone. ( mostly compressive forces) Perhaps it helps with formability.

Anonymous said...

Looks like me and Anonymous tried to post at the same time and my post got borked.

What I tried to say is since scandium increases the strength of aluminum, doesn't that mean you can use less Al and get the same strength but in a lighter piece?

I'll admit I haven't paid much attention to Scandium.

Chris

B&N said...

Fatigue resistance is increased quite a bit as well, which is not unusual for alloys of most metals, but you're right about the extremely small amounts that are necessary to get those dramatic increases in tensile performance.

Truly a situation of getting more out of the product than was put in, in most every regard.

TJH said...

I think it sounds less cheap with the term "scandium alloy", than with "aluminum alloy"--however more accurate the latter may be.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

http://www.scandium.org/Sc-Al.html

The key is reduced grain size... which ends up as higher yield strength and better fatique resistance.

(note: The Dr. is not a metallurgist, or a Dr., but would eventually like to be either)

DirtCrashr said...

Acerbic Anti-EU Brit-Blogger and Kim DuToit fan Tim Worstall is something of a specialist in scandium, and in the scandium business. He and some guys runs a metal trading company out of Moscow (did in 2004 anyhow) called The Low Hanging Fruit Company. My impression was that for a while they owned the European distribution rights. He's on "our" side in many, many ways.
:-)

DirtCrashr said...

Drat - that's the trashy "Tabloid Site" - IMO the much more interesting one discussing economics and fiscal policy issues (economics interesting?) is at http://timworstall.com/ - my bad.