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The Role of Metals in Advancing Technological Innovation 

Published by Lucy Thurston on


The progress of human civilisation has relied on metal for thousands of years. From the Bronze Age to the contemporary era, the versatility, strength, and conductivity of certain metals have propelled technological innovation forward. While the landscape continues to evolve rapidly, metals still play the crucial role that they always have. Across various domains, metals are driving impressive breakthroughs, which can be explored in further detail below.  

What Metals Are Needed for Electric Vehicles? 

As we move towards a more sustainable transportation landscape, EV metals are reshaping the automotive industry. This is because electric vehicles are quickly becoming the frontrunners in the paradigm shift; however, the success of EVs relies on specific electric vehicle metals being used. After all, it’s these metals that allow for performance, efficiency, and durability.  

Aluminium is both lightweight and robust, which makes it a key feature of electric vehicle battery metals. The metal contributes to enhanced energy efficiency and extended battery life, and it’s widely used in vehicle bodies, chassis, and battery enclosures, reducing the overall weight and increasing the range of vehicles.  

Copper boasts exceptional conductivity, which is why it’s indispensable when it comes to EV battery metals. The metal is used in electric motors, wiring, and charging infrastructure thanks to its efficient electrical transmission properties that allow for the seamless operation of propulsion systems, charging networks, and onboard electronics. 

Naturally, engine components like gears, shafts, and bearings are crafted from engineering steel. This is down to the high strength of engineering steel, which allows for optimal performance and longevity. It has superior mechanical properties that provide reliability and precision in powertrain systems, meaning the overall driving experience of electric vehicles is enhanced.  

Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and has structural integrity, which is why it’s so often used in EV components. This includes fasteners, exhaust systems, and battery connectors, as stainless steel doesn’t require much maintenance, and it’s durable, making it ideal for long-term reliability and safety.  

What Are the Metals Used in Renewable Energy? 

In the pursuit of sustainable energy sources, there are now a number of metals used in renewable energy. These technologies harness natural resources, including sunlight, wind, and water. The construction, operation, and optimisation of renewable energy systems rely on metals that power the transition towards a greener future.  

Solar thermal systems often use brass for the valves, fittings, and connectors. This is down to the unmatched corrosion resistance and thermal conductivity that’s provided. Meanwhile, brass is compatible with high-temperature environments, which ensures efficient heat transfer and fluid management, maximising the performance of solar collectors and heat exchangers. 

Bronze has self-lubricating properties and wear resistance, which makes it ideal for bearings and bushings in wind turbines. Since wind turbines are forced to operate in harsh environmental conditions, the components are designed to withstand heavy loads and rotational forces. From this, reliable and efficient power can be generated via wind energy. 

The structural framework of hydroelectric dams and tidal energy installations often incorporates cast iron due to its strength and stability. It has the capacity to withstand mechanical stress and water pressure, which ensures the structural integrity of renewable energy infrastructure, safeguarding against potential hazards and disruptions. 

Steel sections are used to support structures and mounting systems in solar photovoltaic arrays due to their versatility and strength-to-weight ratio. Rooftop and ground-mounted steel sections can be used to provide structural support for solar panels, maximising energy capture and system efficiency.  

What Are 5G Metals?  

Unprecedented connectivity is promised by fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology. From this, communication networks are set to be revolutionised, which paves the way for the Internet of Things (IoT) era. The infrastructure and components essential for the deployment and operation of 5G networks are underpinned by metals, as these facilitate high-speed data transmission and low-latency communication.  

Naturally, tool steel is used to machine precision tools used to craft 5G antennas and electronic components. This is down to the hardness of the metal and its wear resistance. The process of manufacturing radio frequency components is an intricate one, which is why tooling materials that are able to maintain dimensional accuracy and surface finish are required.  

Aluminium is often incorporated into antenna arrays and enclosures deployed in 5G base stations because of its simultaneously lightweight and durable properties. Similarly, it has great thermal conductivity and electromagnetic shielding capabilities, which guarantee optimal performance and reliability in demanding outdoor environments. 

The low resistance and high conductivity of copper make it ideal for high-frequency signal transmission and interconnectivity within 5G equipment. Quite simply, copper facilitates the seamless flow of data across network infrastructure, whether that’s via printed circuit boards (PCBs) or RF connectors. This allows for efficient communication and network operations.  

Advance Technological Innovation with Rapid Metals 

Here at Rapid Metals, we provide all manner of metals, allowing companies everywhere to advance technological innovation. So, be sure to browse our product selection and add your chosen metals to your cart.

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The Role of Metals in Advancing Technological Innovation 

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