In 1988, Touchstone was in the middle of a multi-year R&D program to develop the world's best ingot mold cast iron material. In those days, molten steel was poured in these molds to produce steel ingots. Ingot molds have been widely replaced by continuous casters - although companies like Centre Foundry in Wheeling, West Virginia, continue to produce ingot molds for the specialty alloy industry.
During the development, Touchstone was asked to produce this video to explain the importance of graphite flakes in the performance of the ingot mold and to let the personnel who produce the iron that their involvement is critical to the quality of their product.
Recording video images in scanning electron microscopes was not so common in the 1980's...
Touchstone recently won a contract to develop a next-generation carbon fiber. This technology is expected to have a number of advantages over current state-of-the-art carbon fibers produced from rayon.
About carbon fibers: Carbon fibers are extremely strong and stiff. The tensile strength of carbon fiber is typically 500,000 pounds per square inch (3.5 Gpa). For comparison, 4143 steel, which is used for bicycle frames and automobile structures, has a tensile strength of 125,000 pounds per square inch and 2420-T3 aluminum, which is used for building aircraft, has a tensile strength of 65,000 pounds per square inch. Carbon fiber has the stiffness of steel and about three times the stiffness of aluminum.
Add to this that carbon fiber composites are about 1/5th the weight of steel and about half the weight of aluminum. Carbon fiber composites are a big deal and they are beginning to have a huge impact on our daily lives.
Touchstone has a long history of developing new materials including CFOAM carbon foam, stainless steel cut nails, aluminum brazing alloys, discontinuously reinforced metals and many others.
The carbon fiber development work is being funded by the Missile Defense Agency through its Small Business Innovation Research program with Phase 1 funding at $100,000.
Thank you for all you've done for us in 2016. We would not be the company we are if it weren't for our friends, our customers, our business partners, our community and our co-workers. We feel completely blessed...
Ray Bradbury once said, "it is part of the nature of man to start with romance and build to reality". So Dreamers, keep Dreaming and Builders, keep Building!
Hey Jeremy Lewis, Thank You for the amazing drone image of the sun rising over Touchstone. Your science and your art are amazing!
Last Saturday Touchstone lost one of its family, Everett Baker.
After he retired as Chief Metallurgist of Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel, Everett became head of research and development for Picoma Industries.
After his second retirement, Everett joined Touchstone in 1989. Although he retired a couple times at Touchstone, he kept coming in to check on things and help us with some technical issues until last year. That's 26 years!
In 2004, we named Touchstone's Building 1 in his honor...
Everett's most outstanding characteristic was his willingness to lead a lifetime of learning. With a degree in physics, he spent more than two decades in steel, then moved to pipe couplings. Then at a time when many people would consider retirement he lead R&D efforts in fiber reinforced metals and leading edge carbon fiber composite materials...
In addition to his picture, is a picture of a device Everett developed for quality control for Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel to test paint adhesion for their paint line. The equipment is still being used by Jupiter Aluminum. We named this the Baker Bender
We will surely miss Everett. He was our friend and we loved him...