Last Wednesday, the president signed an executive order addressing the threat posed by the United States’ overreliance on “critical minerals” from “foreign adversaries.”
To be more specific, “critical minerals” here means “rare earth metals,” and “foreign adversaries” means “China.”
Although not as rare as gold, the group of 17 metals are used in the manufacture of advanced technologies, including electric vehicles, wind turbines and missile guidance systems. Your iPhone contains a number of them. Each F-35 fighter jet has about half a ton of these strategic elements.
The problem is that the U.S. no longer produces barite (used in fracking), gallium (semiconductors, 5G telecommunications), graphite (smartphone batteries) and a number of other materials. “For 31 of the 35 critical minerals, the United States imports more than half of its annual consumption,” according to the press release.
Today, China controls some 80 percent to 95 percent of the world market,
How things deform and break is important for engineers, as it helps them choose and design what materials they’re going to use for building things. Researchers at Aalto University and Tampere University have stretched metal alloy samples to their breaking point and filmed it using ultra-fast cameras to study what happens. Their discoveries have the potential to open up a whole new line of research in the study of materials deformation.
When materials get stretched a bit, they expand, and when the stretching stops, they return to their original size. However, if a material gets stretched a lot, they no longer return back to their original size. This over-stretching is referred to as ‘plastic’ deformation. Materials that have begun to be plastically deformed behave differently when they’re stretched even more, and eventually snap
Moore’s law is an empirical suggestion stating that the number of transistors doubles every few years in integrated circuits (ICs). However, Moore’s law has started to fail as transistors are now so small that current silicon-based technologies are unable to offer further opportunities for shrinking.
One possibility of overcoming Moore’s law is to resort to two-dimensional semiconductors. These two-dimensional materials are so thin that they can allow the propagation of free charge carriers, namely electrons and holes in transistors that carry the information, along an ultra-thin plane. This confinement of charge carriers can potentially allow the switching of the semiconductor very easily. It also allows directional pathways for the charge carriers to move without scattering and therefore leading to infinitely small resistance for the transistors.
This means that in theory, the two-dimensional materials can result in transistors that do not waste energy during their
The most significant advances in human civilization are marked by the progression of the materials that humans use. The Stone Age gave way to the Bronze Age, which in turn gave way to the Iron Age. New materials disrupt the technologies of the time, improving life and the human condition.
Modern technologies can likewise be directly traced to innovations in the materials used to make them, as exemplified by the use of silicon in computer chips and state-of-the-art steels that underpin infrastructure. For centuries, however, materials and alloy design have relied on the use of a base, or principal, element, to which small fractions of other elements are added. Take steel, for instance, in which tiny amounts of carbon added to the principal element iron (Fe), lead to improved properties. When small amounts of other elements are added, the steel can be tailored for, say, enhanced corrosion resistance or improved
Pollution particles, including metals, have been found in the placentas of fifteen women in London, according to research led by Queen Mary University of London.
The study, funded by Barts Charity and published in the journal Science of The Total Environment, demonstrate that inhaled particulate matter from air pollution can move from the lungs to distant organs, and that it is taken up by certain cells in the human placenta, and potentially the fetus.
The researchers say that further research is needed to fully define the direct effect that pollution particles may have on the developing fetus.
Lead author Professor Jonathan Grigg from Queen Mary University of London said: “Our study for the first time shows that inhaled carbon particulate matter in air pollution, travels in the blood stream, and is taken up by important cells in the placenta. We hope that this information will encourage policy makers to
Research led by the Universities of St Andrews and Brighton reveals newly discovered sources for rare earth metals vital in modern technologies such as renewables production, mobile phones, laptops and televisions.
The research, published in Nature Communications investigated alternative sources of much sought after heavy rare earth metals used in every day modern technologies, focussing on subtropical soils in Northern Madagascar.
Modern technologies, such as those producing green energy from