Bauxite is the world's primary source of aluminum, one of the most useful and versatile metals known to man. Aluminum is used for cookware, baseball bats, chairs, aluminum foil, electronics, coins, cans, flagpoles, heat sinks and transportation. One scholar of J.R.R. Tolkien even suggests that the fictional element mithril might actually be aluminum. The mineral was discovered in 1821 by the French geologist Pierre Berthier, near the village of Les Baux in Provence, southern France. French chemist Henri Sainte-Claire Deville later named the mineral after the town itself.Read More
Heyl & Patterson Blog
Manufacturing Day is the first Friday in October, and is a national showcase for the importance of manufacturing in the U.S. economy, giving American manufacturers the opportunity to show their products to the world. Americans continue to create new products and unlock new technologies that grow the economy, so Manufacturing Day celebrates those who proudly stand behind their goods and services, helping to revitalize American manufacturing. This will inspire young people to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering, because today’s science, technology, engineering and math graduates will power the next chapter of American production and innovation. In 2015, the event will be celebrated on Friday, October 2, and Heyl & Patterson is proud to recognize our place and our brethren in the manufacturing industry.Read More
Repositioning railroad cars in a rail-switching operation has always been a formidable task. Prior to the development of specialized railcar movers, full-size locomotives were often employed to move the cars across relatively short distances. Locomotives are very expensive and overpowered for the situation. They often require a special rail yard design to allow them to move cars around or out of the way of connecting rail carriers, while older locomotives used specifically for this purpose may not have readily available parts.Read More
Scientists call the pervasive overgrowth of red algae, like pseudo-nitzschia, a “bloom." Known by the ominous name of "red tides," blooms produce a toxin known as domoic acid that is harmful to animals and humans, threatens marine ecosystems and wreaks havoc with the fishing industry in affected areas. During the summer of 2015, the largest red algae bloom on record grew in the warm waters off the coast of California. This algal bloom, unusually dense and more poisonous than others, now stretches north to Alaska and promises severe repercussions for the Pacific Coast fishing industry. The state of Washington recently closed public and commercial fishing of its popular Dungeness crab due to the toxic levels found in the marine life.Read More
Activated carbon is a form of charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to open up millions of tiny pores between its carbon atoms. It is an excellent source of water filtration, and is made from carbon-rich source materials such as wood, bamboo, nutshells, peach pits and coconut husks. The material is charred at high temperatures to produce a highly porous substance that attracts and holds organic chemicals inside it. It can be used to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene and chlorine, as well as odors and colors, from water.Read More
Now that September is here, autumn won't be far behind. The fall season is often associated with harvests, the start of a new school year, colder weather and it is considered to be the best time to re-shingle a roof. Weather conditions are optimal, and the shingles have time to form an airtight barrier prior to the first snowfall of winter. Asphalt shingles are by far the most popular roofing option in the United States. They are affordable, durable and need minimal maintenance, so it is not difficult to understand why they are the preferred roofing material by roofers and homeowners alike. Many types of asphalt shingles are expected to have a lifespan of about 20-25 years.
Social media enables users to interact with one another online to create, share and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities. Some people credit the birth of social media as we know it to the networking website Six Degrees, which pioneered the idea of social circles in 1997, but gave way to Friendster, followed by MySpace and later Facebook. It actually goes back much further. The concept of an online social network evolved from a number of sources, including the CompuServe file-sharing service launched in 1969, the world's first email sent in 1971 and the dialup Bulletin Board System (BBS) and Usenet newsgroups of the late 1970s and early 1980s, before the World Wide Web took over in the early 1990s. Arguably, prehistoric cave paintings could even be considered the very first form of social media.Read More
Lithium has quickly become one of the best and most popular material choices for batteries. The main reason the lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery supplanted its predecessor, nickel cadmium (NiCd) was because the former is capable of producing a wider, stronger range of voltages, without suffering from a "memory effect" that makes it remember the point in its charge cycle where recharging began. Given an equal voltage, a lithium-ion battery is smaller in size and lighter in weight than a corresponding nickel cadmium or even nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery, and has virtually no self-discharge. This allows a lithium-ion battery to be stored for months without losing charge, and they also tolerate a wider range of temperatures.Read More
The United States produces 220 million tons of municipal solid waste a year. That means there is enough to fill a line of dump trucks all the way to the moon. Unfortunately, that waste does not end up in space (at least not yet). Approximately 120 million tons ends up in a landfill each year, where it sits completely useless, releasing greenhouse gases into the air and polluting the ground. However, there is an alternative. Various technologies, including thermal and non-thermal methods, can recover energy from dried and processed municipal waste.Read More
Yellowcake is a mixture of uranium oxide that is produced from the milling of uranium ore. It is an intermediate step in the processing of uranium after it has been mined, but before fuel fabrication takes place. The material is characterized by small, coarse granules with a pungent odor. Even though it is radioactive, it is safe when stored and handled properly. This yellow cake is typically created from ore at the mine site through a leaching process, and is what remains after drying and filtering, before being stored in drums to be transported to an enrichment plant.