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]

Rust Isn’t a Problem for All Metals – but They Have Their Own Issues!

By Duncan Ellis | 16th October, 2018

So much of our modern world is made up from iron and steel, that we’ve become completely accepting of the use of certain words that specifically relate to iron-based metals but are often used on other products. The biggest example by far is when we refer to ‘rusty’ metals when in reality, we mean something entirely different. Rust only happens to iron-based metals. The most common type of rust is, surprise surprise, common rust. It’s a form of iron oxide, which relies on a chemical reaction where energy is transferred between atoms; namely the iron in the metal and moisture... [read more]

Unexpected Side Effects in Steel

By Rob Ellis | 2nd October, 2018

It’s no secret that we at West Yorkshire Steel love a good story and a bit of crime drama always goes down particularly well. One recent series threw up a neat little quandary – how to fake something that can’t possibly be recreated. Our detective is trying to prove that an extremely rare bottle of wine owned by Benjamin Franklin is a fake; it is, in fact, a modern wine simply put into an age-appropriate bottle, using cork and wax from the right time period. The killer blow comes because the wine can be radioactively tested for Caesium 137 –... [read more]

The Fight Against Rust for a Historic Steamship

By Duncan Ellis | 18th September, 2018

Generally speaking, we at West Yorkshire Steel are not fans of rust; while it can, in some cases, be quite attractive in Corten Steel or the ‘antique’ look that’s popular among VolksWagen van owners, rust itself is usually a sign of a metal in distress. Keeping iron based metals in humid or damp conditions and not limiting the damage is usually nothing more than a recipe for allowing a chemical reaction that will eventually eat away the metal to nothing. It was on a recent trip to the SS Great Britain, currently housed in Bristol, that this idea was brought... [read more]