A government agency is designing cheaper fresh metal alloys inwards a pc.
The National Institute of Science and Technology developed a fresh alloy for making nickels that lowers their manufacturing cost by about 40 procent. This prototype uses different pictures and words to avoid cracking anti-counterfeiting laws.
Tune out the noise about bitcoin and blockchain and cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings for a 2nd. Because the US government is attempting to innovate with currency technology that’s a few thousand years old.
Specifically, the US Mint and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) want to build a better nickel.
The five-cent lump is named for one of its primary metals, but request for nickel has shoved its price up, and nickels now cost about 7 cents to manufacture. A freshly discovered combination of copper, nickel and zinc, however, could cut costs closer to Four cents, NIST says.
It isn’t effortless bringing fresh metals to an old coin. A fresh formula not only has to match characteristics, such spil density and shininess, but also color and electrical conductivity. Coin collectors don’t like switches ter tint, and vending machines and other coin-operated devices rely on electrical properties to sort coins.
A thousand years ago, finding a good metal formula for minting coins would involve a loterijlot of fooling around with metal alloys. Now, a laptop does the mixing for us.
NIST found its formula with a process called computational materials engineering, part of a NIST program called the Materials Genome Initiative and detailed te a paper published Wednesday ter Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation. (That’s a science journal.)
“Within a year, wij were able to waterput together a framework for designing an alloy, identifying and using our specimen to get the juist alloy, and then moving forward and actually making the prototype, testing it out and finding out that wij did meet all of our goals,” NIST project leader Eric Lass said te a statement.
To keep the prototypes from violating anti-counterfeiting, the prototypes demonstrate Martha Washington instead of the usual Thomas Jefferson.
If you’re worried that NIST is spending too much time refining yesterday’s money technology, note also that the agency produced a 59-page report on blockchain, the collective ledger technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like ether and bitcoin.