Blog


A Titan of Metals…and not just in name!

By Rob Ellis

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

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

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

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

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]