How to stop a blade from biting through your wallet
A new design that uses a special blade to cut through metal has been developed by researchers at Australia’s leading industrial steel maker.
The Blade-Bite Pro (BBP) was developed to cut metal, including copper, brass and steel, using the same cutting force as a traditional knife.
While this approach is less cutting-force efficient than traditional blade-like cutting techniques, it’s a cheaper alternative to a traditional cutting tool, said senior research associate Professor David Stirling.
“It’s a very, very, cheap alternative to using a knife to cut stuff, so the potential is there,” he said.
“If you’re going to buy a knife, you want to use it in a good way.”
The blade-bite pro uses an electrostatic charge to cut metals, and also uses a high-tech mechanical mechanism to remove the blade when it gets too hard.
“We can create a material that has the highest conductivity in the world,” Professor Stirling said.
The technique is also environmentally friendly and has been tested successfully on steel used in cars and other machinery.
The research, which was published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, has been funded by the Australian Research Council.
The researchers said the device is not yet commercially viable and will need to be scaled up for use in larger industrial installations.
“The BBP can do it, but it has to be really, really thin,” Professor Simeon said.”[The researchers] have found that we need a material which is really thin and light so that when you cut metal you don’t hit the material and it doesn’t melt,” he added.
“There are many ways to make a material very, really strong and thin, but this is one that we’ve found that is the one that can be used.”
Dr Stirling has previously been researching the use of carbon nanotubes to make superstrong materials.
“I think carbon nanots are a really good candidate for the use here because it’s incredibly light, super strong and flexible, and the fact that you can just drop it in there and it’s super strong,” he told AM.
“You don’t have to make it super light to make this stuff very, super flexible.”
“We could use it for a lot of things.
For example, we could use carbon nanosheets to make really strong steel for a very high-density structure that is very, quite rigid.”
Dr Simein said the material would be commercially viable if it was produced at the right scale and cost.
“This is the first step to make that material commercially viable,” he explained.
“So we’ve been able to scale up the material, get it to commercial scale, and then we can see how this material could be used in the commercial sector.”
The researchers also demonstrated the material’s use in a simple device that could be scaled to make up to 100,000 steel blades.
“By the end of the project we could make 10,000 blades, but that’s just for the cutting part,” Dr Stirling added.
The results have been published in ACS Nano, a leading journal in nanotechnology.