Nickel Magazine - Current Issue

Volume 29-1: The life cycle of nickel

March 20, 2014

Stainless steel scrap enjoys another life as public art


Full circle

There are many ways nickel can be recycled. Nickel in batteries – historically nickel cadmium (NiCd) but increasingly nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and nickel-containing lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries – are making their contributions. Also, some nickelcontaining materials such as spent nickel catalysts make their way back to nickel smelters.

Life of Ni

Every issue of Nickel magazine provides examples of how the use of nickel contributes strength, durability, ductility and corrosion resistance to materials and technologies through its electrical, magnetic, shape-memory, catalytic and other still-being-explored properties. In every instance nickel is making a difference: reducing emissions, increasing energy efficiency, prolonging product life and being recycled without loss of basic properties.

Pier review

A new ISO-consistent peer-reviewed LCA compares the existing Progreso Pier constructed with stainless steel rebar with a modeled alternative design that is identical in every way except for the substitution of carbon steel rebar. The modeling and comparison of the piers shows both the environmental and economic benefits of using stainless steel rebar throughout the entire life cycle. While the alternative design has to undergo periodic rehabilitation and reconstruction, the Progreso Pier experiences only minor maintenance, is still functioning, and is expected to continue to serve well beyond the 2020 cut-off date of the study. Significant environmental benefits are achieved at, depending on the discount rate chosen, similar or significantly lower costs.

Today's use, tomorrow's resource

Where are tomorrow’s resources? Where are the materials needed to ensure the food and shelter of future generations? Or will technology provide all the answers and make worries about the limits to resources unnecessary?

In Focus

All about life cycle

The phrase “life cycle” is in danger of joining “sustainability” as exhausted of meaning because of overuse. Yet as this issue of Nickel will show, “life cycle” and “sustainability” are still powerful concepts in society, economics and commerce.

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In Use

Stainless rebar

No matter where you live, you have read about “the crumbling infrastructure” in our regions, whether it be Europe, North America, Asia or elsewhere. Most of us can point to examples of roads and bridges that have deteriorated, some to the point where structural failure is imminent. Yet lack of funds means repairs are delayed and ultimately need to be more comprehensive.

Stable and strong

Imposing and important, Stonecutters Bridge in Hong Kong provides a vital commercial link in an environmentally demanding setting. It also depends on nickel-containing stainless steel to ensure safe and continuous service over its 120 year design life to cope with salt water, industrial pollution and frequent typhoon events.

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In Brief

Drinking water in Tokyo

Safe, clean, palatable water costs money. Leaks incur additional costs as even more water must be found and treated. Dealing with leakage is a universal challenge for cities but none have responded more effectively than Tokyo.

Wave wall

In many parts of the world coastlines require improved fortifications against bad weather damage. One example is the three kilometre sea defence wall constructed by Birse Coastal in the popular seaside town of Blackpool on the north west coast of England. Nickel-containing stainless steel played an integral role.

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