Do coins burn a hole in your pocket? At some point in their manufacturing process, they certainly could. Hard to believe, but thermal processing plays multiple roles in the manufacture of the coins we use every day.
Just how do they get that small hole in the middle of that thin piece of metal? How is it made strong enough at such a thin gauge to do its job? Let’s take a look at the role thermal processing plays in the manufacture of hypodermic needles.
Consider the simple saw. As you ponder it, you realize that although we take saws for granted, they may not be as simple as they seem. There are a variety of different types of saws used for various functions. The basic categories are handsaws and mechanically powered saws.
In our industrialized society, bearings are literally what makes the world go ‘round. Without bearings, modern-day machines could not exist. This includes things we take for granted such as planes, trains and automobiles. Without heat treatment, bearings could not do their job. So, by extension, heat treatment keeps the world’s wheels turning.
Many of us probably think a bolt is just a bolt; some of us may not even know the difference between a bolt and a screw. Heat treatment is the key difference from one bolt to another, and understanding that difference is key to correct assembly design. If the wrong bolt is chosen for a given design, it becomes the weakest link and catastrophic failure will result.
Without springs, modern civilization would not exist. How and who discovered the first spring will never be known, but what we do know is that a spring, which is a piece of steel with memory, returns to its original shape when flexed.
Whenever energy and power are needed in today’s age of miniaturization, rare-earth magnets are called upon to play a vital role. Applications abound, from the family car that uses on average 30 such magnets to powerful levitation systems on magnetic trains. All of this is made possible by elements with strange-sounding names: neodymium, lanthanum, samarium, yttrium and scandium – some of the “rare earths” or Lanthanide elements in the periodic table.
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The piano in the accompanying image!