Iron-air batteries: a cheap and eco-friendly solution for energy storage

After more than 40 after preparing the first prototype of a cheap , rechargeable, high energy density iron-air battery, researchers at the University of Southern California are now finishing the job of the patent-pending design of the battery.

The technical characteristics of the batteries look particularly well-suited to the kind of large-scale energy storage that could accelerate the adoption of renewable energy sources.

lithium-air-battery

Back in the 70’s, researchers were already working on environmentally friendly rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and only recent advances in materials technology have made this technology into one of the most common, high-performing solutions for today’s portable electronics.

Iron compared to other materials has a few advantages: it’s durable, it has a great capacity to pack energy (per unit of mass), it’s recyclable but most importantly it’s cheap with costs around US$1/kg (2.2 lb).

Iron-air batteries were first expected to be used for electric vehicles and military applications after the 1973 oil crisis. However, research stopped abruptly only years later, when scientists realized that iron-air batteries presented a serious  limitation: whenever the battery was being charged, a wasteful process of hydrolysis drained away about half of the battery’s energy.

iron_air_battery

With today’s technology and advanced research, University of Southern California found a solution to this  problem. They learned that adding a small amount of bismuth sulfide into the battery shut down the harmful reaction and reduced the waste of energy more than tenfold, from 50 down to just 4% .

The other good characteristic cost-effective design of its iron electrode. The researchers combined iron powder with a polyethylene binder, heating the mix to obtain a “pressed-plate” electrode that is simple to make and has high specific energy.

The iron-air battery is exhibiting very promising durability, with a target life of 5,000 charge-discharge cycles. Even more importantly, the batteries seem to retain good performance when they are being drained quickly: at a two-hour rate of discharge, the batteries are showing a twenty-fold increase in capacity compared to commercially available electrodes.

Shanghai Metal Corporation encourages the development and innovation of new technologies. You can visit the company’s website , contact us and follow us on twitter and facebook for more information and news on metal.

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Houria // SMC Editor

The Tallest Skyscrapers Made of STEEL

skyscrapers clouds
Skycrapers above clouds – source: missions haringknowledge.com

The term skyscraper was originally used to describe buildings of 10 to 20 stories,

The increase in urban commerce in the United States in the second half of the 19th century augmented the need for city business. So the story of skyscrapers began in second part of the 19th century when steel became one of the cornerstones of the world’s industrial economy. Steel became available in large quantities and at low price and was quickly the material of choice for building construction. but by the late 20th century the word skycraper was used to describe high-rise buildings of unusual height, generally greater than 40 or 50 stories.

Thanks to Steel framing and steel reinforced concrete made curtain-wall architecture possible and the use of the material  made the evolution of skyscrapers possible by allowing them to reach new heights.

in 1895 The 10-storey (42 m high)Home Insurance Building was built in Chicago and was considered the first tall building to be supported by a steel skeleton of vertical columns and horizontal beams.
As skyscrapers grew taller, architects and engineers were faced with a new enemy: wind. They had to experiment with new styles and building methods in order to build taller and more innovative structures.

The following buildings are today’s 3 tallest buildings in the world and have all been possible thanks to the amazing properties of steel and the hard work of engineers and architects that brought many innovations in the metal field.

Burj_Khalifa

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE (829.8 m – 163 foors)

Burj Khalifa is the tallest man-made structure in the world it uses a bundled tube design (which is a system that uses a number of interconnected tube frames) and a composite of steel and concrete to hit its record height. Approximately 39,000 tonnes of steel bar were needed for the construction and 15.500 m2 of embossed stainless steel for cladding. Proportionally, the design uses half the amount of steel used in the construction of the Empire State Building thanks to the tubular system. 

Tokyo Skytree (634m – 29 floors)

tokyo skytree tower - source: wikipedia.org
tokyo skytree tower – source: wikipedia.org

The tower is the primary television and radio broadcast site for the Kantō region.
The structural steel columns of the tower are diagonally jointed at different angles, and their shapes differ from one another. Under these stringent conditions, engineers were required to solve the kind of problems that they have never experienced in past projects

Shanghai Tower, Shanghai (632m – 128 floors) 

Shanghai Pudong Panorama - source: wikipedia.org
Shanghai Pudong Panorama – source: wikipedia.org

The Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in China and the second-tallest in the world, surpassed only by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. high strength steel, ultra-thick plates of over 100mm in thickness and other high-end construction steels have been used for the construction of the tower. In addition to that The design of the tower’s glass facade, which completes a 120° twist as it rises, is intended to reduce wind loads on the building by 24%. This reduced the amount of construction materials needed; the Shanghai Tower used 25% less structural steel than a conventional design of a similar height saving approximately US$58 million in material costs.

source : http://www.worldsteel.org, wikipedia.org 

Steel is an amazing material that is both economic and sustainable. That’s why Shanghai Metal Corporation manufactures and distributes a large range of Steel products of high quality all over the world.
For more information, you can visit the company’s website or contact us for any inquiry.

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Houria // SMC Editor

Distribution Poles: From Wood to Hot Dip Galvanized Steel

With the increasing demand of eco-friendly ans sustainable products from both the public and private sector, the main sector to improve is the energy sector itself.
Distribution pole are the main vectors of electricity and have become over the century a common view of our roads and fields. 

images
wood distribution pole

Steel poles are becoming increasingly popular among utility companies for building  distribution lines or for replacing the traditional wood poles. Many reasons push these companies to use steel ans invest in the new distribution poles. In this article we will try to summarize the benefit of hot dip galvanized steel mainly reported from linemen who have worked with both wood and steel

distribution-pole-blue-sky-asset
distribution pole – source: wikipedia.org

Wood pole VS Steel pole

Lighter

For similar strengh, a steel pole is 30 to 60% lighter than a wood pole. This makes them easier to lift, load, install and  handle in general.

Cheaper: Thanks to continuous improvement of quality and manufacturing process of steel poles the cost of steel poles come down to a point where they became competitive with wood. 

Flexible:  

Unlike wood poles which can only have a certain maximum size determined by the size of the tree taken from,  the size of wood poles can be determined freely according to the need. Steel poles can be made to handle virtually any load and in any length and can also be made as single piece poles or in sections if that would help handling them in the field.

More Sustainable

Galvanized steel poles were a response deforestation issues steel is one of the most recyclable materials around so there is never any environmental concern over disposing steel. an old pole will be recycled to make a multitude of other products. Also , the protective system that is required to cover steel poles is made of zinc which is also an environmentally friendly material and virtually 100 percent recyclable. In addition. The coating systems have been improved so much over the years that it has reduced  the maintenance needed and improved their life expectancy of the poles.

Safer:  

The steel structures do not require a full-length copper grounding wire. They are already self conducting for grounding purposes. As a result, no installation of a ground wire is required.

pole 4
lineman on distribution pole source: wikipedia.org

source: steel.org,  smdisteel.org

Shanghai Metal Corporation manufactures hot dip galvanized steel products because it believes in its potential and encourages its use for a more sustainable industry and a clean environment.
For more information, you can visit the company’s website or contact us for any inquiry.

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Houria // SMC Editor