Thoughts of Fall and Reflections on AP University

Today is a special and meaningful one for me on several accounts.  The first day of fall signals the time when life starts to settle down as the trees in WI and MI start to turn colors and the days grow shorter.  Many will say that is only a sign of the winter to come, but this is truly the time of year I enjoy the most as the air turns crisp and the landscapes turn vibrant.  Today we also welcome the 10th graduating class of AP University into the world, armed with new knowledge and passion about how to reduce weight, cut cost and improve component performance through the use of the ductile iron casting process and Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI).  Though the teaching days are long, there is nothing more fulfilling than educating future evangelists and answering the many great questions on how the processes work.  If you are interested in learning more about AP University and attending our classes, check out our class schedule and descriptions at our APU page. 

Next week Rusty Rainbolt and I are off to MINExpo in Las Vegas to prospect for new opportunities in the mining industry.  Stay tuned for further updates and pictures of some really big stuff!

Until then, cheers!

-Steve Metz
Vice President of Sales 

Pictures from Joyworks on our last day of APU

What's In a Name?

Today is the day. The beginning of the NFL regular season football, a fresh start for our favorite teams and our fantasy teams. Sundays will be full of friends and family gathered around the big screen yelling for favorite teams.  In the coming weeks we will be sharing facts about one of America's favorite pastimes- Football!

Have you ever wondered how the football teams got their names? There are certainly reasons behind more ubiquitous names like Bears, Panthers, and Broncos but what about the more unique names like the Steelers? What exactly is a Steeler? Notice the spelling: it’s not ‘steal’ as in theft, but ‘steel’ as in the ferrous alloy. Interesting.

Pittsburgh is known as the Steel City because it was an industrial hub for coal mining and steel production in the 19th and 20th centuries. Andrew Carnegie introduced the Bessemer steel making process in 1875 and helped shape Pittsburgh into the Steel City. United States Steep Corp. was formed in 1901 and up through the mid-1950’s Pittsburgh produced nearly half of the national steel output. The area around Pittsburgh became known as the Steel Valley and includes parts of eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

The Steelers were originally founded as the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1933 and are the oldest franchise in the American Football Conference (AFC). Before the 1940 season the name changed to the Steelers. The current logo was first introduced in 1962. It incorporates the Steelmark, a symbol originally designed by U.S. Steel Corp. and now owned by the American Iron and Steel Institute. The original meanings behind the astroids  in the symbol were, “Steel lightens your work, brightens your leisure, and widens your world.” Later the colors came to represent the ingredients used in the steel-making process: yellow for coal, red for iron ore, and blue for scrap steel. In 1963 the team was given permission after a petition to AISI to add “ers” to “Steel” and the logo we know today was born. 

Last Days of Summer!

Let’s talk Summer. The end is soon approaching and typically this is one of the last big weekends where family and friends enjoy some of their favorite past times. The warm summer air will soon turn to a cool breeze and the leaves will be off the trees before you know it, which means one last big weekend soaking in the summer sun sounds pretty good to most! A couple of favorites that we enjoy around here are boating, kayaking, camping and exploring what nature has to offer.

Boating provides an array of activities for all. There are so many styles and sizes of boats available for all interests. Boats can be categorized into three main types: there are unpowered or human- powered boats such as rafts and floats like canoes, kayaks.  Sailboats are another kind which can be propelled by the wind and sail and lastly there are motorboats which are powered mechanically with an engine. These allow for more recreational use like skiing, tubing, fishing, etc.

Boats are commonly made of wood, aluminum, steel, fiberglass or any combination of these materials. Wood is the traditional material used for boat building and can be considered a classic style. In the mid-20th century aluminum gained popularity. Though much more expensive than steel, there are now aluminum alloys available that do not corrode in salt water, and an aluminum boat built to similar load carrying standards is lighter in weight than the steel equivalent. Steel is commonly used on larger vessels and aluminum is usually found on canoes, skiffs, pleasure craft and fishing boats. Around the mid-1960s boats made of fiberglass became popular, especially for recreational use. Fiberglass boats are strong, and do not rust, corrode, or rot. They are, however susceptible to structural degradation from sunlight and extremes in temperature over their lifespan. Depending on which activities you enjoy or what you are looking for in a boat there are so many different styles to choose from.

If you prefer a much simpler route on water, you may find that canoeing and kayaking is your style! Most of today's canoes and kayaks are made from three materials: thermoplastic, fiberglass, or aluminum. These, like boats can all vary in durability and price, and how much you are planning on the use of them. 

Everyone is familiar with camping in some way, shape, or form. But do you know the anatomy of camping? Your tent, for example? Tent poles are made from fiberglass or aluminum and held together by shock cord. This keeps the poles lightweight and portable for hiking and ease of packing. Tent fabric may be made from a number of materials including: canvas, nylon, and polyester.

Maybe you’re a glamper? Most RV’s have steel frames that are welded, bolted, or riveted together. Wood is generally used to frame up an RV’s walls and floors because it is inexpensive, lightweight, flexible and durable. RV skins are made from either aluminum or fiberglass. A classic example of aluminum skin is the Airstream trailers – but even the more modern looking RV’s with the white or taupe paint colors can be aluminum as well.  The hitches used to pull RV’s are ductile iron or austempered ductile iron.

Food is a necessary and fun part of camping. Many people eat food that is easy to roast over a fire on a stick – but some bring pots and pans for cooking. If you’re a hike-in-and-camp person, then your cookware will be very lightweight stamped steel or aluminum. If you’ve got the room and you’re driving directly to your campsite, then you might have a cast iron skillet to cook food over the fire. Or maybe your RV comes with a stove. Whatever the occasion this holiday weekend we hope that you are able to enjoy the last days of summer and the beautiful nature that surrounds us all!

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.