The terms “technology metals” was coined in 2007 by Jack Lifton to denote the by-products of metals and other rare metals which are excessively useful in the manufacture and high-end production of devices which require high technology such as security systems, engineering systems, miniature electronic devices, advanced weaponry, solar panel electricity, wind turbine electricity and electricity storage; thus, they are compositely known as “high technology metals
Kinds of High Technology Metals
Some tend to distinguish between technology metals and rare metals but they are the same – they are the by-products of base metals. Cobalt, uranium, lanthanum, neodymium, cadmium, lithium, yttrium, bismuth, praseodymium, dysprosium, selenium, samarium, zirconium, gadolinium, indium, terbium, europium, palladium, platinum, germanium, gallium, rhenium, rhodium, hafnium, tantalum, scandium, tellurium and thorium are categorized as high technology metals, according to the US Geological Survey and British Geological Survey. From this list, lithium is on the verge of joining the list of heavy production metals
Origins of High Technology Metals
The concept of high technology metals and metal products came into being after the Second World War. Prior to the Second World Way, the metals which we known as technology metals today were either ignored as non-existent or used in laboratories for experiments. They were not considered to have potential enough for practical uses. Since they were primarily used in laboratories, they came to be classified as “minor metals”.
In fact, it is surprising to know that metals like nickel, tungsten and aluminum belonged to the list of minor metals as well before the Second World War. Nickel came into prominence as a high volume production metal once stainless steel production began in 1919. In the first few years of the 20th
century, General Electric produced tungsten for use in incandescent light bulbs. By 1918, it became an important industrial metal because of its use in military armor, armor piercing, and tool cutting with tungsten carbide. In 1886, aluminum is used for the first time for capping the Washington Monument because it depicted the material richness of America since aluminum was more expensive than gold that time. Now, the use of aluminum metal
is practically seen in every household.
What Happened During Second World War?
Attention turned towards the rare or minor metals was due to the necessity of finding and using metals for their magnetic and electrical properties and not just their structural and physical properties. The need for arms and ammunitions rose manifold during the wartime.
The economics of time, money and profitability was not considered by the politicos during this time. They concentrated on producing high technology metal products such as radio, radar, rocket engines, jet engines, super weapons and electronic computing systems through the previously categorized minor metals or rare metals. In other words, the high technology metals contributed towards the development of war technology in the 1940s.
High technology metals are used these days for producing high-tech electronic devices and safety systems. Unlike the era when these were restricted for developing war technology, the high technology metals are now used regularly for manufacturing consumer consumption goods.