|MadSci Network: Engineering|
Dear Jae I have some information here for you that should at least resolve your question and hopefully get you your job. Using several search engines and searching under lightweight steel I only found one steel manufacturer (BHP) that boasts an ultra-lightweight steel auto-body (URL http://www.bhp.com .au/review/review76_1/ulsab.htm ). Unfortunately I could not find out which car company is using it! However I am sure if you contact BHP they could be of help. Concerning the manufacture of the lightweight steel, BHP don't give any clues away about its composition and therefore I cannot directly inform you wether basalts are involved in its manufacture - however I can speculate. The main ingredients in making steel are iron ore, coal and limestone (URL http://www.steel.org.uk/makstl.h tml ). The composition of basalts is predominately silica (Hawaiian basalts contain about 50% silica, 10% each of iron, magnesium, calcium, about 15% aluminum, 2% titanium and 2% sodium; URL http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/HawaiiQuest/gen_hawaii_volcs/qu estion1. html ). The high concentration of impurities in the basalts rules it out as an addative in the manufacture of steel primarily because of its high impurity content. The impurities added to the steel are controlled as to give desired properities eg stainless steel. Therefore using an impure additive means production of a steel with unpredictable properties As basalts are mainly composed of silica, which is the main constituent of glass. It is possible that the 'steel/metal' that you remember a report on 25 years ago is a glass/ceramic. Below I have provided a brief discussion of the strength, density and transparency issues regarding basalts as glass/ceramic and a couple of URLS that show basalts used in glass/ceramic applications. (a) Strength: Although glass is not as strong as steel, when crystallised it forms very small grain size which gives it a very high strength greater than that of steel. (b) Density: The density of glass is 2.5 g/cm3 which is far lower than that of steel (7.5 g/cm3 for stainless and 7.85 g/cm3 for high-carbon) but comparable to that of aluminium, which is 2.71 g/cm3. (c) Transparency: Most glass is transparent unless coloured. The colouring is achieved through adding impurities to the glass. In the case of basalts there seems to be a lot of impurity contained and so it is expected that basalt glass would not be transparent. However if is possible to purify the basalt in an effort to achieve a clear glass. (d) Basalt Applications: Tiles URL http://www.chersales.net/voltil e.htm URL http://decorativebasalt.com/ Pipes URL http://www.chersales.net/voltil e.htm I hope my explanation above is of help and best of luck with your job. Best Regards, Jeries
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