Blog


Tool Steel Properties

By Rob Ellis | 14th December, 2018

Tool steel grades are supplied in a wide variety which commonly belong to a specific group or type providing various characteristics. Most tool steel properties require grades that suit heat treatment to achieve a high hardness. Tool steels are frequently used for the shaping of other materials.  Popular types of tool steel include cold work, hot work, plastic mould and shock resisting which are used for a wide range of applications. The choice of steel for a particular application depends on which tool steel properties suit best, such as the required hardness, shock resistance, strength and toughness. Other considerations include... [read more]

A Titan of Metals…and not just in name!

By Rob Ellis | 11th December, 2018

Metallurgy has a reputation of being a complicated or in-depth science, but it’s quite astonishing how much information the average person picks up regarding materials sciences. It’s general knowledge that copper is used in wiring because it’s highly conductive and relatively cheap, or that iron left outside in the rain will tarnish, rust and eventually corrode away to nothing. Some of this knowledge could be down to how we use words of metals according to their characteristics. “Worth its weight in gold” denotes value and “lead footed” relies on the density of lead to show something is sluggish and heavy.... [read more]

Can You Really ‘burn’ Steel?

By Rob Ellis | 27th November, 2018

Talking about steel always brings forward certain images and one of the most enduring is that of the foundry. People often imagine huge containers full of yellow hot metal, being poured or extruded into sections - and the chances are that if you asked people what it’s like to work in such an environment, they’d reply “noisy” and “incredibly hot”. It’s true that metalwork, even from the earliest times, has always involved working with temperatures that people find uncomfortable. The first people to heat Malachite in order to extract the copper had to basically form extremely hot fires, burning at... [read more]

Making a Long-lasting and More Sustainable Choice

By Duncan Ellis | 13th November, 2018

Ever since the BBC series Blue Planet was shown, there’s been a push to reduce our reliance on ‘single-use’ plastics. Plastic has now become so cheap, it’s effectively free and disposable, but this has led to a number of environmental problems, including the Plastic Island that is affecting the oceanic environment and aquatic life. This in turn means consumers are more conscious of their buying habits and also what happens after they drop the plastic into the recycling bin. Unfortunately, the UK doesn’t have a single set of rules about plastic recycling, with local authorities having most of the responsibility.... [read more]

From Then to Now – Why Copper Has Survived with Us!

By Rob Ellis | 30th October, 2018

One of the things that’s allowed the UK to be a fantastic centre for the world of metallurgy is our geology – we’re a big old mish-mash of different parts of the earth’s crust, each with its own properties. This has given us a huge range of different minerals and one of the first to be taken out of the ground and worked was malachite. Malachite has the chemical formula Cu2CO3, which is copper carbonate and it was found that by heating the mineral to around 1,000°C, the carbon and oxygen would burn off, leaving pure copper behind. Working with... [read more]