Cause and Effect

Disaster at Le Mans – Mismatched Technology


This weekend will see the 82nd running of the 24 Heures du Mans, or the 24 Hours of Le Mans for you non-French speakers. One of the major races of any fan’s schedule, it has long been a technological proving ground. It was originally conceived of to test the endurance of man and machine, and continues in that spirit today. However, in 1955 technological advancement and the pursuit of speed led to a mismatch in technologies that is a direct cause to one of the greatest motorsports tragedies in history.

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Airborne Awesomosity

The Flame Barrier

One of the most fascinating things about aircraft is how quickly these machines progressed. The Wright Brothers made their first powered heavier-than-air flight in 1903. Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in 1947. The Germans sent the first man-made object into space during a V-2 test flight in 1944. The breakneck speed at which aircraft and, by extension, spacecraft were advancing began creating problems. Lightweight metals were not strong and were not heat resistant. In the days of subsonic and even up to Mach 2 or so, the heat generated by friction with the air was minimal. However, once we broke the sound barrier and sought to go faster and faster, the materials available became more and more unsuitable.

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Titanium Twister

A friend of mine works for Henkel and worked on a product called Alodine EC2. Alodice EC2 is a titanium metal oxide (TiO2) coating for aluminum, titanium and other metals that doesn’t chip. Obviously, for materials like steel, if the coating is chipped then the inner metal can start corroding.

But that’s boring. What’s not boring is a company called Titanium Twister has used this technology to make a better replacement beater for the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. OK, that’s not all that exciting, either. Until you start watching their videos about their better beater starring boobies a blonde reading cue cards, and a video about the Alodine EC2 process starring a Speak N Spell. Hit the jump and enjoy the beater.
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