1M Prize for Engineering

Presumably to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee, and to also celebrate engineering, a 1M pound prize has been announced to be given biannually for achievements in engineering.

Lord Browne, Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize Foundation, said, ‘Too often the engineers behind the most brilliant innovations remain hidden – The Queen Elizabeth Prize aims to change that. It will celebrate, on an international scale, the very best engineering in the world’.
Candidates from around the world are able to win the prize, which is funded by 11 British and Indian companies, including BP. Organisers hope that the £1m award will come to rival the level of prestige enjoyed by the Nobel Prize.


This is interesting, but I think to rival the Nobel prize a fund would need to be established where the funding for the prize is completely independent from the sponsoring companies. I also think it is worth pointing out that although the Nobel Prize is given in Physics, Chemistry, Peace, Literature and Physiology or Medicine, it is worth reminding people that is was established by an Engineer.

— update —

The first Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering of 1 Million Pounds was awarded to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Kahn, Vinton Cerf, Louis Pouzin and Marc Andreessen for their pioneering work developing the the internet.

Read about the first QEEP at the BBC


Steel Wires

Random bits of information about Steel wires.

There is a patent on using Scifer in composite structures, where about 10% metal fibres are added. “Carbon fiber prepreg and carbon fiber reinforced resin composite, US Patent Issued on September 6, 1994” Inventor(s), Shouaki Ide, Akira Shimamoto, Toshiaki Yutori, Masahiko Uchimura. Patent No. 30264 filed on 1993-04-05

There is a 2001 paper about dissolution of cementite during drawing of pearlitic wire. K. Honoa, M. Ohnumaa, M. Murayamaa, S. Nishidaa, A. Yoshieb and T. Takahashia, Scripta Materialia
Volume 44, Issue 6 , 1 April 2001, Pages 977-983. “Cementite decomposition in heavily drawn pearlite steel wire”


Press release about uses of Scifer from find articles.com

Kobe Steel starts ultrafine ‘scifer’ wire R&D – research and development
American Metal Market, April 5, 1991 by Minoru Inaba
Find More Results for: “scifer steel ”
Kobe’s superfine wire…
Japanese steelmakers…

Kobe Steel starts ultrafine ‘scifer’ wire R&D

TOKYO — Kobe Steel Co. Ltd. has begun research efforts involving unidentified U.S. and Japanese companies to develop industrial applications for a family of patended ultrafine “scifer” steel wires ranging from 15 to 100 microns in diameter.

Despite the fact that they are as fine as spider thread (7 to 8 microns) and human hair (70 to 80 microns), the scifer wires, according to Kobe executives, have a tensile strength twice as great as that of piano wire and an elasticity three times as great as aramid fiber.

Shunji Omae, deputy general manager of steel wire rod and bar sales at Kobe, said the company and local customers have found commercial fine wires in sports equipment, such as fishing wire, golf clubs and skis.

He said Kobe recently began joint efforts in the United State and Japan to cultivate industrial applications for the wires, including computers, communications, aircraft and medical uses.

The scifer wire is said to be composed of 97 percent steel, 2.9 percent silicon and manganese and 0.1 percent carbon. The material is available for 43 cents per kilogram.

After a “special” heat-treatment process that Kobe calls the key step needed to make scifer wire, the steel becomes a ferrite-matrix composite containing martensite. The grain size is said to be 20 angstroms in diameter, or one-5,000th that of ordinary steel.

The heat-treated wire can be drawn out of its final form by a factor of 10,000, Omae said.

Kobe rated 25-micron scifer wire at 475 [kgf/mm.sup.2] in tensile strength, 20,000 [kgf/mm.2] in elastic modulus, 4 percent in elongation and 53 percent in reduction of area.

The 100-micron scifer was rated at 400 [kgf/mm.2] in tensile strength, 20,000 [kgf/mm.2] in elastic modulus, 4.5 percent in elongation and 55 percent in reduction of area.

In short, Omae said, the ultrafine wires are strong and, at the same time, elastic.

Kobe is offering them in the form of straight wires, plated wires with some conductive characteristics, twisted cables and as an extra reinforcement in fiber-reinforced plastic and fiber-reinforced rubber.

Fishing rod maker Daiwa Seiko has put on sale a fishing wire consisting of two 7-to-16-micron scifer wires twisted together.

Golf club maker Homma is producing wood clubs that take advantage of the scifer wire’s good elasticity to give the clubs good control in addition to ball-carrying strength. Scifer clubs are priced at $719 to $2,156 apiece.

Before the next winter season, ski maker Ogasaka will introduce scifer skis said to be just as elastic or smooth as glass-fiber skis and yet much superior in responsiveness and shock absorption. Scifer skis will sell for $783 per set.

Saying scifer wire might be following a similar path taken by carbon-reinforced plastics in terms of development of applications, Kobe’s Omae said he was hoping to see a wide variety of industrial applications develop for the ultrafine wires.

Possible applications, some of which were said to be actually pursued jointly with American and Japanese customers, include plated wires for supercomputers, communications wires, high-frequency applications, precision springs, probes and extra reinforcement for carbon-reinforced plastics.

COPYRIGHT 1991 Reed Business Information
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

Best innovation of 2006?

It’s a nail?

According to Popsci the best innovation of the year is a nail that is a bit like a screw. Making these bigger nails with bigger heads mean they can carry twice the load, they’re twisted to prevent pull-out. The new design is touted as helping houses survive hurricanes in better condition – adding just $15 dollars to the construction of a house…

Alpha Nail

… I was really hoping for some innovation in the metallurgy when I saw this story.