Rusal scandal, radiation-proof aluminium alloy, amazing batteries
There’s a scandal erupting over Rusal and the LME; new aluminium alloy brings space travel a tad closer; batteries are about to be taken to an exciting new place; aluminium is finding its way into drinking water and there’s more trouble for UK steel.
It’s all go as usual in the metal supply sector. Here’s the news.
Glencore’s Rusal aluminium scandal
Glencore is suffering a whopper of a scandal after reports revealed it delivered aluminium produced by a Russian oligarch’s company to London Metal Exchange-registered warehouses in South Korea. The metal was originally produced by Oleg Deripaska’s Rusal. He’s one of Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, and Rusal has been sanctioned by the UK.
There aren’t any restrictions on buying Russian metal at the moment but the issue is a tricky one because very few buyers want Rusal aluminium in their products. If unwanted aluminium has indeed found its way into the LME’s system, prices could suffer. As a result of the scandal Glencore shares fell in value.
At the same time worldwide aluminium prices rallied briefly as the USA announced they’re thinking about applying an ‘effective ban’ on Russian imports of aluminium in reaction to the Ukraine war.
Space travel comes a tad closer thanks to an amazing aluminium alloy
Aluminium is already a hero. Now it’s even more exciting. A new alloy of the metal keeps its flexibility and strength even after high doses of radiation. This makes it potentially useful for things like building spaceships and setting up colonies on other planets.
The alloy is 100 times more resistant damage from radiation than current materials used in rockets, made by a team in Leoben, Austria, by blending aluminium and magnesium alloy with zinc and copper then squashing it at extreme temperatures. Heating it at over 200°C makes the grains shrink to nanometre-size, keeping the flexibility and strength even in the face of severe irradiation.
Genius aluminium batteries on the way
We sell 6061 aluminium plate, 6082 tooling plate, aluminium 7075t6, 6262 aluminium round bar and loads more aluminium formats. They’re all crucial in different ways. But how about this for a cool development?
Lithium ion batteries are prone to bursting into flames. Now there’s an alternative underway in the shape of a fast-charging, fire-resistant battery made from aluminium and sulphur being developed by a team at MIT, the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The new battery can charge fully in less than a minute, won’t burst into flames, and stores energy at the same levels as lithium ion ones.
Aluminium finds its way into drinking water
Aluminium is useful stuff. But you don’t want it escaping into your drinking water. That’s why people over in Belfast and County Down aren’t happy.
More than 200,000 homes are supplied with 140 million litres of water every day from the Drumaroad Water Treatment Works, which has until April 2025 to improve standards. High levels of aluminium were found at the site, which treats water from a nearby reservoir.
It’s worrying when recent studies have revealed a potential link between aluminium and problems with human nervous and neurological systems. Because the symptoms look a lot like Alzheimer’s, the 2025 deadline is bad news for people who use the water.
UK steel sector at risk, warns union leader
More metal supplies woes, with tens of thousands of steel jobs at risk. The government is being asked to throw the nation’s steel sector a lifeline by the Community Steelworkers’ Union general secretary Roy Rickhuss. He says she needs to “back our steel industry now or risk losing it forever.” It’s the strongest warning yet that the problems facing the sector are becoming critical. As Rickhuss said, “The stakes couldn’t be higher, and time is running out. Our industry is bleeding, we urgently need investment to stop us falling further and further behind the competition.”
Metal suppliers you can trust
We sell aluminium in large quantities, known for delivering quality at fair prices. That isn’t going to change no matter what happens. Walk this way for expertise from experienced brass flat bar suppliers and trusted steel suppliers in the UK, and get metal supply without a fuss.
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