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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Material Innovations- Healthy Steel? - Smart Steel. "Healthy steel is smart steel" and it's corrollory

A "smart" steel with built-in antibacterial protection.

My initial interest in "healthy steel" and healthy steelmaking goes back quite a bit, in fact to my work as a process metallurgist in special steelmaking. My initial education as a graduate metallurgist, processes and products (integrity) provided me with a firm grounding for my early career much of it as a process R&D metallurgist and materials scientist and engineer. My encounter with the inherently dangerous environment of "liquid steels and special alloys, at temperatures where metal vapours abound and to which one must, literally, add powder chemical fluxing agents, exothermic powders, which give off heat at during and/or after the casting process made me more and more aware of the need to improve my knowledge of health issues and increase my expertise in what I see as "worthwhile and responsible application of science".

I recorded in a ChemWeb posting (pre-blog days) some work on sanitary surfaced steel obtained by very thin, plasma deposited, layers of silver(Ag).

Much more recently, early this year 2007, in fact, I submitted a rough ideas outline for lower coast processes for sanitary surfaced steel currently stainless steel is the preferred material. (Innocentive)[Link html]. Unfortunately I did not win but gained some feed-back on the known weaknesses of my ideas. I discovered in the the Innocentive Challenge search process just what a back seat I had taken on these specialisms for too long!

Innovation-A smart steel with built-in antibacterial protection.

While optimising reading and exploitation of my Institute [Link html] house journal, "Materials World", I came across this "Healthy Steel" report in the news section.

Let me share with you, the innovative steel formulation below and encourage readers not to hesitate to make further comments on this approach, make suggestions or supply further information.


A world first in plating strip steel according to the manufacture [Link html].

Known as Hybrel (TM), [Link html], the new product mixes various particles with a metal coating – such as tin, nickel and copper - so forming hybrid coatings that combine the properties of both the metal and the particles.

These hybrid coatings are produced electrochemically. Particles, such as plastics, ceramics, glass beads, lubricants, and even colours, scents, and micro-encapsulated luminescent materials, combine at the metal surface at the same time as the metal coating is formed and are incorporated into the metal layer. It is also possible to simultaneously deposit two different types of particles into the same layer.

The particles and metal combine to create a variety of surface properties. For example, metal strip with a water or dirt repellent surface that is also highly conductive to heat and electricity.

Some potential applications include self-lubricating bearings and vibration-resistant engine gaskets.

Nota Bene: I decided to be more directive in my title following Harvard Business Online's email bringing clarification to the "Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR" theme.
"Healthy steel is smart steel" and its corollary "Smart steel is healthy steel".

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