Thursday, May 25, 2017

Another triumph of environmentalism

...this time, from the Rio Olympics of 2016.  No, I'm not talking about the millions of tons of concrete, steel, and plastic decaying in abandoned venues, but rather the fact that apparently, the "eco-friendly" medals handed out are tarnishing.

Writing as a guy who's actually done work ensuring the quality of plated parts of base metal like brass, beryllium copper, and stainless steel, what's worth noting here is that the military has been using parts with such platings for decades in all climates, and it does not matter whether they are dropped or "mishandled", as the IOC's excuse reads. 

Rather, it simply matters that you've got a clean base metal blank treated properly and plated to a thickness of 50 microns or less.  What matters is that your base metal and process is good, and it's worth noting that the weight of gold listed--0.2 ounces--is exactly the same as I'd anticipate from a 3" medal coated a little more than 50 microns thick.

In other words, their "environmentally sound" recovered base metal simply wasn't capable of holding any plating, something that should have been obvious to any decent plating engineer or technician.  I dare suggest that a faulty medal is no environmental win.  It's a triumph as great as that of the infamous green swimming pool.

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