Skylon: they need scandium

Just remembered this.

OK, so Alan Bond\’s lot are getting their engine to work. Excellent.

Now someone needs to think about what to build the plane out of. No problems going up. But that wing and fuselage surface is going to take a beating coming down. You know, tiles on the Shuttle and all?

To which the correct answer is scandium aluminide. Doesn\’t even begin to deform until 1,400 oC. Just absolutely the best material on the planet to build it out of.

Makes friction stir welding a hell of a lot easier too.

Now, who is it I know that\’s, Deo Volente, going to be digging up scandium in the spring?


9 thoughts on “Skylon: they need scandium”

  1. Hmm, according to ye Wikipedia, they’re aiming at $650 per payload kg. About 400 quid. So, under 30 grand to lob me into orbit, so long as I stay off the choccy bars.

    Another factor of 10, I might be able to buy a ticket one day. Maybe those space hotels I dreamed of as a youngster (and assured my parents would be available for holidays in the 1980s) might finally happen before I pop me clogs.

  2. “And instead of carpet I’ll have money wall to wall”

    Don’t count your chickens, Tim. Any damn fool can dig up mine tailings.

  3. Talking (#2) of carpets, I spotted the other day that the business lounges at Heathrow are “upholstered in Osborne & Little fabrics”.

    And which Tory Cabinet Minister broke ranks and said (contrary to his election manifesto) that a new runway was needed?

  4. I always though Hafnium carbide but maybe I’m just obsessed

    and I really need some fecking scandium, its a grain refiner in aluminium. The boss reckons we can weld 7075 with no tensile strength loss if we can get some at a reasonable price but its so damn [email protected]!

  5. Those guys indeed. But they’ve a very strange indeed business plan. They’ve got that working method of extraction. And yet they intend to open a huge mine which will destroy the profitability of that method they’ve got. And the mine itself won’t be profitable either. Had a long talk with one of their shareholders on this trying to point out how mad they are.

  6. Hi Tim
    I’m a shareholder of CLQ, happy to have a chat all things scandium – flick me an email if you can. I’ve read up on your background. Cheers

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