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It’s a nice try on

This is an interesting projection for a company:

More details here.

So, the global market is maybe as much as 20 tonnes a year at perhaps $800 a kg. This company is basing – 65% of total revenues – its projections on being able to sell 100 tonnes a year at $3800 a kg.

That’s gonna work, isn’t it?

13 thoughts on “It’s a nice try on”

  1. If they cheapen it enough that it becomes a viable substitute for other applications, who knows.
    But yes, sounds rather wrong.

  2. But a new market for lots of scandium is opening up in the burgeoning civil aviation business, where tourist numbers are reaching record….

    Also used in an aluminium alloy, to replace thorium, used for disposable rockets, which SpaceX have just obsoleted.

    So that’s the scandium market done for then. Any other uses?

  3. Among other things, niobium is hypoallergenic. I know various performers with niobium rings decorating their nipples, clithoods and labia. Richard has a niobium Prince Albert of which Polly is quite fond. He is thinking about getting his scrotum multiply pierced

  4. Well, OK. SpaceX. Never was a replacement for thorium, rather, lithium. And my one and only interaction with Elon Musk was him asking me whether scandium would make his rockets lighter. No, not really, although it will make them easier to weld.

    True story…..

  5. One of the interesting uses of niobium is as the wire in superconducting magnets. It still needs liquid helium to cool it.

  6. Niobium is good for very hot things, like rocket expansion bells. SpaceX use it in the 2nd stage of Falcon9 (you need a much larger expansion bell on 2nd stage of a rocket ‘cos no atmosphere when its used, so pressure ratio higher). Also called Columbium by Septics.
    And as mentioned above: superconducting magnets.

    Sorry Tim, but the thorium comment is accurate. Look up that Titan missile blowup by Vandenburg some while back, the local rancher sued the USAF for the radioactive contamination from the aluminium alloy ash. Replacements for old-stock Titan switched to Sc based Al.

    Li/Al used for lightness, sure. Scandium used as trace addition to grant the same improved medium temperature performance to the Al alloy that the Th gave.
    No one cared about the mild radioactivity of the ICBM then, with regard to the payload.

  7. Nope. The thorium was used in magnesium thorium alloys, not aluminium. There were also nickel thorium alloys (one of the F – whatever planes, plates around the afterburners or something). But Al-Th not so much.

  8. Thanks for the link, a most interesting book.
    I stand corrected!

    Well, in detail: it being a Th/Mg alloy instead of an Th/Al alloy on the Titan, so I am wrong here indeed: ’twas a very long time ago since I did this for a living.

    Despite my mistake, I think the argument I made stands: Scandium main use is alloying with Aluminium for aerospace. And both civil airliners and launch rockets are not needing much for the next decade or so. Bit of a glut of low-miles planes, and nbe a long time before tourism gets back to what it was, assuming the ecofreaks let us. And SpaceX has shown how not to throw away the vehicle after each use.

    So I support your contention in the OP: 100mt sales of scandium look so rose-tinted as to be utterly opaque. And the price rather optimistically quoted suggests a selletrs market, which there not being mush call for scandium round thhere, looks equally…..(cough).

    Should never have argued with you. OTOH, it prompted a link to a fascinating text!

    Now back to the coding:
    for (i=0;i<1000000; i++) printf("I must not argue with Tim Worstall\n");

    Job done.

  9. Thanks, so Niobium fulfils a kind of super-titanium role, light and only melts at ultra high temps.

    Although I am still struggling with Murphy’s pierced scrotum which will require a lot of booze to expunge.

  10. Nb’s fairly heavy actually but yes. The sister metal, tantalum, is one step further along. Lovely, lovely stuff. One of the uses is for lab crucibles. Which are very fun because they ring like a bell. Actually, much, much, better than a bell. It would be excessively fun to make an entire set of bells (hhm, a carillon of bells?) from the stuff.

  11. Remember the Feynman Exception:

    Now back to the coding:
    for (i=0;i<1000000; i++) printf("I must not argue with Tim Worstall *on his subject of expertise*\n");

    For of course on most things I’m just as dumb as everyone else.

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