From A to Zinc; A Precarious Metal Industry

A little known but highly important metal used in a range of products is Zinc. Zinc has an array of applications, from it’s possibly most well known use in sunscreen all the way to outdoor furniture, tools, aircraft, electric vehicles and garage doors.

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Zinc is a key mineral used in the galvanizing of Steel and is also used in SMCs Galvalume roof sheeting and coil with aluminum at a ratio of 55/45. This gives the product extreme protective qualities such as rust resistance through two mechanisms. Firstly it physically acts as a protective coating, which forms a barrier so that water cannot reach the weaker steel. Secondly, due to the chemical properties of Zinc, a reaction occurs which is called a ‘Sacrificial anode’ this has the effect of even if this protective coating is scratched the exposed steel will still be protected by the remaining zinc.

Currently the global supply of Zinc is in a precarious position. Prices have been steadily increasing, with investors making a significant amount of money through trading with prices having risen by more than 17% this year on the back of high demand with  no foreseeable opening of new mines for at least two years, perhaps more. This has lead many analysts to believe that the price could rise a further 15% before the end of the year. The mine pictures below is one of the largest in Canada in is due to close this year.

XTRATA ZINC - Brunswick Mine

To discuss some of our Zinc containing products such as Galvanized Steel or Galvalume coil/roofing material please do not hesitate to contact us though our website Here. You can read this and other mineral and metal related posts on our WordPress blog. For more updates on this and other exciting developments follow us on FacebookTwitter & Linkedin. Or by using your smart device, scan the QR code below!

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Dominick F.//SMC Editor

Sources: Mining.comCecilia Jamasmie, Naveen Joshi,

Scientists now able to create indestructible aircrafts

MIT has played home to a number of off-the-wall discoveries, and once more a recent discovery of the self-healing properties of metal has thrown the researchers there for a loop. Initially thought as a mistake,  MIT researchers unexpectedly found out that putting a cracked piece of metal under tension — that is, exerting a force that would be expected to pull it apart — has the reverse effect, causing the crack to close and its edges to fuse together.

It happened due to grain boundaries interaction with cracks in the crystalline microstructure of a metal — in this case nickel, which is the basis for “superalloys” used in extreme environments, such as in deep-sea oil wells. The surprising finding could lead to self-healing materials that repair incipient damage before it has a chance to spread. The results were published in the journal Physical Review Letters in a paper by graduate student Guoqiang Xu and professor of materials science and engineering Michael Demkowicz.

Their experiment wasn’t just saying that metal can sometimes heal itself to some small extent. Instead, their findings suggested that there is a mechanism through which metal can actually heal its cracks under any applied stress, slow the progression of this type of failure, Demkowicz says. Such failures can be “life-limiting situations for a lot of materials,” Demkowicz says, including materials used in aircraft, oil wells, and other critical industrial applications. Metal fatigue, for example — which can result from an accumulation of nanoscale cracks over time — “is probably the most common failure mode” for structural metals in general, he says.

Shanghai Metal Corporation offers nickel foil and strip varying fittings and sizes. SMC also produces nickel silver strips, nickel copper tube widely used in shipbuilding, petrochemical, electronics, instrumentation, medical devices, daily necessities, handicrafts and other fields, and is an important resistance and thermocouple alloys. To find out more, please visit our Website or send your inquiry here. Our English speaking personnel will be more than pleased to help you. Follow us on  LinkedInTwitter, FacebookInstagram and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Or you could try our new mobile app by scanning our QR code.

Source: MIT, dvice.com, engineering.com

Camilla G.//SMC Editor

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Do You Know Whether Your Penny Is a Copper or a Zinc Coin?

The United States one-cent coin is officially named cent, but commonly known as a penny. The colloquial term penny derives from the British coin of the same name. Since 1909 the reverse has honored President Abraham Lincoln in varying designs, and one century later a new, permanent reverse – the Union Shield – was introduced in 2010. The coin is 0.75 inches (19.05 mm) in diameter and 0.0598 inches (1.52 mm) in thickness.

If your coin has a date before 1982, it is made of 95% copper. If dated 1983 or later, it is made of 97.5% zinc and plated with a thin 2.5% copper coating. At one point, from 1793 to 1837, the penny coin was pure copper. After that, the cent was made of bronze (95% copper, and 5% tin and zinc), but then 88% copper and 12% nickel, giving the coin a whitish appearance, and back again to bronze until its current composition of copper-plated zinc.

The fluctuation of copper in the coin composition was due to a number of reasons. The war effort in 1943 increased the demand for copper. However, a limited number of copper pennies were still minted that year. Other times, the price of copper rose to a point where the cent contained almost one cent’s worth of copper. This led the Mint to test alternative metals, including aluminum and bronze-clad steel. Aluminum was chosen, and over 1.5 million of these pennies were struck and ready for public release before ultimately being rejected. The proposed aluminum pennies were rejected for two reasons: vending machine owners complained the coins would cause mechanical problems; and pediatricians and pediatric radiologists pointed out that the radiodensity of the metal inside the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts was close to that of soft tissue, and the coins would therefore be difficult to detect in X-ray imaging. One aluminum cent was donated to the Smithsonian Institution.

As of 2013, based onthe US Mint Annual Report released in 2014, it costs the U.S. Mint 1.83 cents (down from 2.41 cents in 2011) to make one cent because of the cost of materials, production, and distribution. This figure includes the Mint’s fixed components for distribution and fabrication, as well as Mint overhead allocated to the penny. Fixed costs and overhead would have to be absorbed by other circulating coins without the penny. The loss in profitability due to producing the one cent coin in the United States for the year of 2013 was $55,000,000. This was a slight decrease from 2012, the year before, which had a production loss of $58,000,000.

If you wonder whether your penny is made of copper or zinc, the safest and best way to tell their composition is to weigh them. Copper pennies weigh 3.11 grams, whereas the zinc pennies weigh only 2.5 grams. However, an alternative and easiest way is the “drop” test. When you drop the coin on the table, zinc pennies have sort of a flat “clunk”, whereas copper pennies have a higher-pitched, more melodious “ring” sound. Obviously, this test isn’t as reliable as weighing them, but it should help you sort most of copper and zinc pennies.

Do the test and let us know!

Shanghai Metal Corporation offers copper is varying types including foil, cable, tube, coil, busbar, sheet, plate, in varying fittings and sizes. SMC also produces enameled wires, PTFE wires, low voltage cables, fiberglass copper wires for the security, telecommunications, electrical, commercial, industrial, and automotive industries. To find out more, please visit our Website or send your inquiry here. Our English speaking personnel will be more than pleased to help you. Follow us on  LinkedInTwitter, FacebookInstagram and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Or you could try our new mobile app by scanning our QR code.

Source: usmint.gov, coins.about.com, parkpennies.com, Wikipedia, sarahsuesphotography.blogspot.com, flickr.com

Camilla G.//SMC Editor

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