Nanotechnology steel climbs mountains, beats titanium

Next time you’re heading out to climb Mount Everest, take advantage of today’s early nanotechnology and be sure to bring your nanomaterials-based ice axe:

C.A.M.P. proposes an innovative, lightweight ice axe which combines a 7075 aluminium head and shaft with a point riveted to the pick, made out of innovative Sandvik Nanoflex® stainless steel. This makes the head of the axe more resistant to corrosion and gives enormous weight-saving benefits. The point of the pick is more durable due to Sandvik Nanoflex® steel having 60% more tensile strength than normal steel and so the life of the axe is extended.

The Corsa Nanotech has been designed for classic Alpinism, ski-mountaineering, competitions and expeditions. Developed and tested in cooperation with Simone Moro, Corsa nanotech has been rewarded with the Outdoor Industry Award 2006 in the category”Mountain-climbing equipment” and with the “Editor’s Choice Winter 2007” from the German magazine Outdoor.

Also available for your boots as crampons. AzoNano explains that the nanomaterial involved is quite impressive:

Sandvik Materials Technology has developed a new stainless steel with exceptional properties. Called Sandvik Nanoflex, the new steel allows ultra-high strength to be combined with good formability, corrosion resistance and a good surface finish.

Because of the combination of properties, Sandvik Nanoflex is ideally suited to mechanical applications where lightweight, rigid designs are required. A high modulus of elasticity combined with extreme strength can result in thinner and even lighter components than those made from aluminium and titanium.

Sandvik Nanoflex is already being used in medical equipment, such as surgical needles and dental tools. Other areas of use are expected, e.g, in lightweight chassis applications and sports equipment.

The strength and surface properties of Sandvik Nanoflex also offer opportunities for items for the automotive industry, replacing hard-chromed low alloy steels. Thus, the environmentally unfriendly hard-chromizing process can be eliminated.

Being non-mountaineers here at the Foresight office, the ice axe leaves us cold (sorry!). But the environmental benefits of getting away from one of the damaging processes used in making today’s cars — now that warms us up. We can expect increasingly impressive “cleantech” results as nano moves from materials to devices to atomically-precise systems. And, yes, highly impressive sports equipment as well. —Christine

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