Materials Science in the Olympics!

This past week we have watched the Rio 2016 Olympics unfold.  They have been nothing short of excitement, determination and bravery among all athletes worldwide. At Applied Process we enjoy sharing those moments and reliving the highlights together as some of our favorite athletes compete to bring home the gold.  We decided to take a closer look at the role materials science plays in the Olympic sports that are currently happening in Rio and even around the world.

Fencing began as a form of military training and morphed into a sport somewhere between the 14th and 15th centuries. The sport of fencing is one of only four to have been featured at every modern Olympics. There are three different swords for fencing: the foil, the epee (pronounced ep-AY), and the saber. The foil got its name because it was originally made from rolled steel foil. Today’s blades are also steel. The cheapest blades are quench and tempered medium carbon steel. These have a tendency to break due to fatigue cracking. A more expensive blade is maraging steel which offers an increased lifetime but can still fail by brittle fracture.

Weightlifting is one of the original Olympic events. As a means to measure strength and power, weightlifting was practiced by ancient Egyptians and Greeks. Today weightlifters focus on two techniques: the ‘snatch’ and the ‘clean and jerk’, which determine their place according to their total combined results.  The weights used are rubber coated ASTM Grade 20 cast iron and the bars the lion weights rest on are steel.

Tennis has been a sport in the Olympics since 1988.  Originally early tennis rackets were made of wood but as technology progressed so did the materials of the racket.  Modern tennis rackets are made from a wide range of materials to help maximize performance. Some of these materials include a high modulus graphite and/or carbon fiber, which is used to keep the frame lightweight and stiff for increased racket head stability and performance.  The graphite and carbon fibers allow for more aerodynamic shapes to be made which increases the speed in which the racket can travel through the air. Other materials that might be used in tennis rackets are titanium and tungsten, which can add stiffness where necessary.  In addition, you might find Boron/Kevlar which is similar to graphite but both are lighter and stiffer. The rackets made from these are typically very durable however less forgiving than graphite or aluminum.

Shot put is another interesting sport to watch, you never know what might come out of it, and how far the shot will actually go. Typically, the men’s shot weighs 16.01 pounds and the women’s shot weighs 8.8 pounds.  The scoring is based on the competitor with the longest legal throw put.   The shot can be made of different kinds of materials depending on its intended use.  Some of the materials used include sand, iron, cast iron, solid steel, stainless steel, brass, and synthetic materials like polyvinyl.  Some of these metals are denser than others which can affect the range and speed of the shot.  The shot put has been a part of the world Olympics since 1896.

Golf has made its way back into the Olympics this year after being gone for more than a century. Golf was reintroduced due to its global expansion and popularity. It’s not back permanently, though, as the International Olympic Committee only voted to reinstate golf through the 2020 Games in Tokyo, at least for now.  It’s typical for golfers to have a favorite golf club they might use for a specific event.  Club heads were historically made of beech, dogwood, apple, pear and persimmon woods.  Today, the materials usually used for club heads are titanium, steel, graphite, boron or steel alloys.

These are just some of the ways that materials science has advanced over the years and in the Olympic games. We hope you enjoy watching the rest of the Rio 2016 Olympics!

Chemistry is Patriotic!

The weekend is vastly approaching and if you haven't noticed already, firework shops are booming all over town. Plenty of parties, picnics and towns will be entertained by them on this holiday weekend.  Have you ever wondered what makes fireworks colorful? What makes them whistle, boom, and crackle? Chemistry.

The colors seen in most fireworks today are fairly recent phenomena. Before the 19th century colors were limited to golds, silvers, and oranges. Advances in chemistry have led to the addition of various agents to the fuels and oxidizers to produce the vibrant colors we see in the sky at modern displays.

Black powder is the propellant favored for fireworks. It is simply a mixture of charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate, and is most frequently used to make fuses, lift charges, and break charges.

Many fireworks are named for the effect they create. There are salutes, which are shells that explode violently, producing a loud report with very little visual effect other than smoke and a bright flash. Titanium salutes are similar except the report is accompanied by a large cloud of white sparks. Screamers are the shells that whiz with a screeching sound as the gain altitude.

The colored effects are often named after flowers like chrysanthemum, dahlia, and peony. The chrysanthemum is a spherical hard-breaking shell in which the stars produce a tail. A dahlia shell produces brightly colored stars that fall from a soft break. A peony is a spherical hard breaking shell in which the stars do not leave tails. There is a willow shell that produces trailing stars that droop and form a pattern similar to a willow tree.

The colors can be created by metals, inorganic compounds, or organic compounds. Titanium and aluminum are two metals used in the fuel to create white sparks. Lampblack, a form of carbon, creates golden sparks. Iron is used to create the branching sparks that resemble palm trees in the sky. Barium compounds create green, calcium compounds produce reddish-orange, copper compounds burn blue, sodium compounds flare yellow, and strontium compounds are responsible for red.

Now you can impress your friends and family with your new-found knowledge.  We wish you all a Happy 4th of July, as you watch the fireworks fill the sky!! 

Happy Armed Forces Day!

Happy Armed Forces Day!

Armed Forces Day originated in 1949 to honor Americans serving in the five military branches: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and the Coast Guard. This year Armed Forces Day falls on May 21 and will be celebrated by parades, open houses, receptions, and air shows. It is a day for the military to showcase state of the art equipment at fairs and parades around the country.

Applied Process is proud to be a part of the scientific community working to further develop materials for this state of the art equipment. Advances in metallurgical methods and lightweight alloys are leading to more effective and durable military vehicles and systems. These technologies and processes have applications in the aircraft, automotive, and electronics industries as well. 

Thank you to all of those who have served, and continue to serve our country!

Another round of APU!

We are pleased to have another successful session of APU in the books as we just wrapped up our 9th session this past week. Over the course of the two and a half day seminar we had guest presenters, AP professionals, and a panel of experts from all across the industry that were able to share their knowledge with the group. On the last day of APU, attendees got to experience firsthand ductile iron being poured at Joyworks, which is owned and operated by AP Director John Keough. During this time attendees were able to visualize and experience hands on concepts that were described in the class sessions. 

Here is a photo of ductile iron being inoculated as the iron enters the pouring ladle.

We would like to thank everyone who attended this session of APU and to those that traveled near and far to be a part of this event. Our next session will be underway in September 2016!


Detroit-Windsor AFS Student Night

Tuesday, March 22 was the American Foundry Society Detroit-Windsor Chapter Meeting and Student Night. Seven students received scholarships at three different levels: gold ($2000), silver ($1500), and bronze ($1000). Five of the students could not make it to the meeting because classes are in session and they attend Michigan Technological University. The two who were able to accept their awards in person were Tedd Sheets and Jeremy Lipshaw who attend the University of Michigan.

Congratulations to the all of the scholarship recipients!

·         Jeremy M. Lipshaw (gold)

·         Anthony A. Orza (gold)

·         Tedd A. Sheets (silver)

·         Melissa R. Galant (silver)

·         Tyler J. Brose (bronze)

·         Natalie M. Pohlman (bronze)

·         Lauren A. Borowicz (bronze) 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Did you know that Saint Patrick is the patron saint of engineers (as well as of Ireland, St. Brigid, St. Columba, Nigeria, and outcasts)? Although everyone is familiar with the tale of Saint Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland, he is also credited with fostering the development of arts and crafts and introducing the knowledge of the use of lime as mortar in Ireland. He is responsible for the initial construction of clay churches in Ireland in the fifth century. Another of St. Patrick's achievements was teaching the Irish to build arches of lime mortar instead of dry masonry. These beginnings of ceramic work developed into organized crafts, and that is how St. Patrick became a patron saint of engineers. 

ASM Detroit Chapter Sustaining Member Award

ASM International was founded in 1913 as the American Society for Metals. Today, ASM is the world's largest association of metals-centric materials scientists and engineers with over 30,000 members worldwide. ASM is dedicated to informing, educating and connecting the materials community to solve problems and stimulate innovation around the world. ASM International is known around the world for the depth and breadth of the materials knowledge it disseminates through books, databases, videos, and a myriad of online products.

Despite economic hard times faced by most member companies from 2005-2008, the Detroit Chapter remains one of ASM Internationals largest chapters, with over 1000 members.  The Executive Committee remains committed to bringing members value for their memberships.

Applied Process was recognized as a 20 year sustaining member of the ASM Detroit Chapter at the March 14, 2016 Chapter Meeting. Kathy Hayrynen, Director of Research & Development, accepted the award. 


The Stuff Matters

The concept of “green” is one that has morphed into a catch-all category for anything that either reduces human consumption or effluent into the air or water.  In fact, the earth is a big “black box” with solar radiation coming in on the sunny side and black body radiation leaving on the dark side.  With the exception of the lingering “big bang” energy (molten core and element isotopes), all available energy we use is solar energy, and that includes all carbon-based fuels.

Our focus on the type of energy we use is generally centered on the energy used to operate a product or system.  Ignoring the energy required to make the product or system is a misguided approach, leading us to make decisions that actually increase our energy consumption while falsely feeling “green”.  The focus of our decision making should rather be on reducing overall energy consumption in everything we do.

Humankind can survive and thrive if we keep the energy consumed to less than the net solar energy coming into this “black box” we call earth.  The author uses real-world case studies from familiar fields of investigation to foster a “life cycle” energy perspective and, perhaps, positively affect the thinking of engineers and designers in their work. 


Presentation by Applied Process Director, John R. (Chip) Keough for the ASM International Calumet Chapter

Presidents' Day!

Today is Washington's Birthday, also known as Presidents' Day, a federal holiday held on the third Monday of February. This day honors presidents of the United States, including George Washington, the USA's first president.  

This day also celebrates the past presidents who have lead our country. We thought we would take a look back at a few presidents that continue to have a long lasting role in history and whose faces are seen every day in the mountains of Mount Rushmore.  This National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the mountain, a granite formation in the Black Hills in Keystone,South Dakota, United States. This National Memorial features 60-foot sculptures of the heads of four United States Presidents. Those familiar faces are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.  This national destination got its name in 1884, when New York attorney Charles Rushmore asked his guide about the name of a certain mountain. The guide jokingly replied, “It hasn’t gotten one, so we’ll call the thing Rushmore.”  

We decided to dig a little deeper and learn some more facts about Mount Rushmore:

-The men who carved Mount Rushmore were mostly miners who had come to Black Hills in search of gold- they knew little about carving a mountain.

-On average, Mount Rushmore hosts nearly three million visitors a year

-It took 14 years and 400 men to carve the mountain. 

-The faces of Mount Rushmore are 60 feet high.  That’s the same size as a six story building.

-Over 90% of Mount Rushmore was carved using dynamite.  The blasts removed approximately 450,000 tons of rock. 

While working on this masterpiece, Dynamite, jackhammers, and hand chisels were used to carve the faces and add details.  Did you know that Jackhammer housings have been made from ADI since the 1980’s?? 




For more information on Mount Rushmore and to learn more facts like the ones above check out: http://bit.ly/1U4AK8x


We are FEF!

Applied Process is a proud corporate contributor to the Foundry Educational Foundation. Many of our engineering and technical employees were FEF students and we are proud to give back and continue to support FEF. This video represents the widespread and long-lasting effect FEF has on the metal casting industry. #WeareFEF!