Blog


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]

Unexpected Side Effects in Steel

By Rob Ellis

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

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]

Sometimes It’s the Unexpected Consequences That Matter Most

By Rob Ellis

We’ve spoken a number of times on this blog about people who have made huge contributions to the world of steel and one name that seems to pop up rather frequently is that of Harry Brearley. Known as the inventor or discoverer of stainless steel, he uncovered one of the biggest leaps in the history of steel, despite it not being thought of as particularly useful at the time. Brearley’s ‘rustless’ steel as he called it, was actually an 18/8 martensitic steel and it was only when advanced in medical technology and hygiene showed that sterilisation of medical implements reduced... [read more]

When Your Name Becomes an Entire Brand!

By Duncan Ellis

It’s a very peculiar feature of our language that we often take a single brand name or trademark and apply it to every similar product. Coke is accepted to mean almost any cola, a fabric hook-and-loop fastener is usually identified as Velcro and very few people would correct the use of Tannoy when referring to a Public Address System. The goal for many brands, however, is to become so engrained that your name becomes a verb. Recently, the biggest example is ‘to Google’ a query, but in honesty, Americans have been Xeroxing for decades and Brits have done a touch... [read more]