Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the world after feldspar, and its applications are exceedingly numerous when it comes to manufacturing and products. Though arguably most famous for watches, there is much more to quartz than mere timekeeping. Take a look at our blog to see just how ubiquitous quartz can be.
As mentioned, watches are perhaps the most famous incorporator of quartz. Since the 1980s and the augmentation and compacting of quartz via digital electronics, quartz timekeeping methods have become the world’s most widely used timekeeping technology, used in most watches, clocks and even computer equipment. A quartz watch will gain or lose approximately 15 seconds per month, or around 0.5 seconds a day, though many modern iterations often contain compensatory elements that attempt to resolve this problem, such as inhibition compensation or internal adjustment. For more information on maintaining your quartz watch in the face of timekeeping or other issues, check out www.vacheron-constantin.com/en/services/looking-after-your-watch-2/type_quartz for a handy and informative guide. As it is a relatively inexpensive material, quartz watches can be bought at very attractive prices, ranging from a few pounds well into the hundreds depending on the watch design. If you are thinking about buying a new quartz watch, you can pick up some great deals at www.watchshop.com/Quartz-Watches.html and www.watches2u.com/quartz-watches.html.
Quartz is often used in bathroom tiles and kitchen worktops as the natural properties of the mineral lend it a marble-like feel with an added glisten under the surface. Its status as the second most abundant mineral on the planet gives it great variety in design, creating a multitude of different patterns and styles. Outlets like Tilemart specialise in supplying quartz tiles, so if you’re thinking about relaying your bathroom with quartz you should definitely check out www.tilemart.co.uk/quartz-tiles. Quartz’s inherent properties make it more than just an aesthetic choice for your bathroom too, as its non-porous qualities ensure that no water goes where it shouldn’t. In the kitchen, a quartz unit can really add an extra hygienic level to your design too, as food and liquid particles cannot be trapped under its impervious surface, nor can germs grow in such stone. Easy to clean and stunning in design, a quartz worktop is a fantastic kitchen investment, so if you’re looking at picking one up, head to www.granite-care.co.uk/quartz-worktops to begin your re-design.
Quartz sand is also a major ingredient in a lot of glass production. Specifically within the scientific and industrial markets, quartz glass production results in the creation of crucibles, tubing, optical glass and more. The specialised nature of the industry means that companies like www.h-baumbach.co.uk/ maintain quartz glass manufacturing as their sole focus, and you can see more examples of what they do in the video below, and take a look at www.heraeus-quarzglas.com/en/quarzglas/quarzglas_1/Quarzglas.aspx to get a better understanding on the benefits of working with quartz glass.
Quartz really does have many applications for everyday and industrial usage. This common mineral far exceeds its call of duty and performs admirably by adapting to a wide variety of required uses.
The UK has lifted its ban on fracking, which is the process used to recover gas and oil from shale rock. A pressurised mixture of water, sand and chemicals are shot at the rock to release the gas inside. Currently tests are being carried out to see how much shale gas we might have available to us. It is estimated in some cases that the amount of gas available could be substantial . In South Wales alone there could be £70 billion worth of reserves. So if this new venture could have us reaping the rewards of a coal and oil alternative, then how come there has been so much controversy over fracking? Well there are worries that that fracking could pollute drinking water, there have been some instances in America where carcinogenic chemicals have escaped and gotten into the water causing the water to ignite as it comes out of the tap. There is talk that the fracking process could cause tremors. During tests two tremors were felt in the blackpool area and caused the testing in that area to be suspended. Environmentalists are worried about the amount water during the process, nearly 4 million gallons are needed each time and in areas like the south east which already have water scarcity issues would struggle.
Those in the fracking industry of course have their version of things. Currently coal and oil is very expensive and if we had access to shale gas that would reduce market costs worldwide. Thanks to fracking America and Canada now have enough gas to last them 100 years. If Britain were to start the fracking process they would ensure that the boreholes made during the process would be properly sealed and that the cement used would have sound integrity and would not leak.
Though there are obvious short term benefits from the fracking process, but the long term consequences could be a 4-6 degree increase in the global temperature this century which could have disastrous consequences on the environment. But it is up to the UK government, will they priorities cost over the future of our planet? I guess we will find out.
Living in an wooden house, you’re already well on your way to having an eco-friendly, healthy home. Wood is one of man’s favourite materials and for thousands of years we have built our properties this way. Because of the durability of wood, it has proved a popular material to use for quick projects that are long lasting.
Why is healthy to live in a wooden house?
Softwood used for building has resin remaining and becomes a positive impact on the respiratory tract. dust also doesn’t manage to settle as well in wooden homes, making clean up easier due to wood not having the same electrostatic properties as other building materials. Adding to this psychologists believe the warming colour of wood is beneficial to mood, state of mind and can even soothe the nervous system
What about heating?
Because of the absorption factor of wood, it keeps a natural humidity balance inside the house. Timber walls naturally suck the moisture out of the air and hold it in a framing of the whole structure, staying warmer for longer. If it is summer outside, chances are, the same temperature is felt inside the wooden house. The micro-climate of a wooden house allows the whole structure to breathe, causing less damp and mould issues than normal houses due to the natural ventilation. Log houses tend to warm up significantly quicker and cool down significantly slower than normal brick houses. Installing a log fire into a wooden cabin is a sure fire way to have ‘free’ heating, especially if the wood you burn you can accumulate for free too. They are a perfect solution for humid or warm climates as they can insulate in the winter and cool inside during the summer.
Choosing to live in a wooden house can not only be beneficial health wise, but can be cost effective. If you’re not paying for heating (if you install a log fire) and are just paying for water and gas/electric, it can cut the cost of your bills by 40%.
Not only are log/wooden houses aesthetically pleasing, they are a great unique selling point if you did ever want to sell and move on. Play on the special factors of the property, the eco friendly, the health benefits, the cost efficiency. But most who live in wooden houses/log cabins, will most likely stay put from falling in love with this kind of property. This couple from Morecambe, Lancashire have restored an old beach house on Morecambe Bay to a fantastic and unique Noah’s Ark style house that they have lived in for the past 6 years. The great thing about wooden houses/log cabins is that every single one is different in external look, internal layout and function. So you really do get a one of a kind property experience.
Slate is a naturally occurring type of stone that is used mainly in the building and construction industries. Areas famous for slate mining include Wales and Spain, with 90% of all European slate coming from the latter. Wales has been producing slate for several centuries, with the oldest evidence of this being a wrecked 16 century ship in the Menai Straits carrying a shipment of slates.
Slate needs to be mined from the earth, with the earliest mines being surface quarries targeting slate lying near the surface. Before long, slate miners had started mining slate deposits under the ground by digging tunnels down from the surface, but the work was incredibly dangerous, not only due to the fairly rudimentary knowledge of the natural world, but also because there was little thought given to the health and safety concerns of the workers concerned. The actual process of mining, i.e. blowing holes out of the wall with explosives, also raises its own obvious safety issues.
The old slate mines of North Wales still today form a large part of the areas tradition and heritage, despite the fact that the industry has been in near terminal decline throughout the whole post war period. The National Slate Museum in Llanberis shows a little bit of what life was like for Welsh miners over the years, and is an excellent place to visit for the slate enthusiast.
The discovery of coal can be seen as the turning point for our modern age, the point when we decided to use it as an alternative form of energy to wood or other burnable materials. The irony now of course is that coal and oil are now fast depleting, and we are once again being prompted to turn to alternative forms of energy.
The development of the industrial revolution was the key factor in the increased use of coal in society. It had been used before then, but only in certain circumstances, though it was paid quite a bit of attention by the Romans. As such, the rapid introduction of coal into the new industrial society meant that there were certain areas in the country that would be literally black with coal smoke, and would have been detrimental to the health of its residents. Place in the UK such as Manchester and The Black Country in the West Midlands are prime examples of this, the name of the Midlands area being quite literal in its interpretation. The Midlands as well as the North were involved in some of the heaviest coal mining operations, which boosted their economies but had a terrible effect on the air and the health of its residents.
Coal is now being used less than ever, due to dwindling supplies and greater demand for alternative forms of energy. It may be soon that we see coal stop being used at all, in favour of more renewable and less damaging energy sources.
A large part of jobs in the construction and mining industries are the role played by heavy machinery. They are essential tools in these job areas, as they help to move quantities of a particular material, which can range from slate and coal to apples and clothing, and they also help to perform a particular task such as digging. Heavy machinery is often overlooked as one of the integral parts in an industrial society, and the people that work them are often just as disregarded.
Learning how to operate heavy machinery is not always the easiest task in the world. The general public often underestimate how difficult it can be to learn certain skills in the construction and mining industries: they are not jobs that can be taken lightly, due to the high risk nature of the work they are doing. Often specialist training is needed in order to operate certain types of heavy machinery, especially things like combine harvesters and weaving machines.
Developments in the design of heavy machinery over the years have helped to make production more efficient, and in turn have helped to boost industry. It has now got to the point where certain types of heavy machinery are now at their optimum level, and unless the industry changes there will not be a need to keep updating the design and features of this equipment. Certain types of industry are unlikely to change at the moment, but others are still evolving, and so need more updates.
Quarrying is the act of mining valuable materials from the ground using an open pit arrangement, where earth and stone is removed to form what is essentially a large hole. Removing this earth in layers in a gradual manner allows for the harvesting of valuable minerals, stones or ores beneath. Quarrying can also be known as open-pit or open-cast mining, and is generally used where there is an abundance of the valuable commodity a short distance below the surface.
Open-pit mining is often castigated for its perceived destruction of the local area. Not only is a massive hole dug in the ground, sometimes several kilometres wide, but there also needs to be space allocated to the processing of any earth and stone removed from that hole, along with service roads for logistical purposes and amenities areas for the staff working on site. The disruption caused by blasting, the use of explosives to remove hard rock and stone, is also cited as damaging to local wildlife.
When quarries are done with they can’t just be filled in either. Often the waste rock left over from processing can contain harmful substances, or compounds that combine with natural elements like rainwater to cause harmful substances. In these instances the waste area will be covered with clay to avoid leakage, and the whole area covered with soil and vegetation. Some quarries have been used as landfill sites for other kinds of waste, although there is pressure to stop this practise as well.
Mining is the process of extracting precious or valuable substances from the earth, including building materials such as slate, metal ores such as copper, or precious stones such as diamonds. Basic mining practises such as simply digging for things in the ground would have taken place ever since humans first thought they had something to dig for, and a mine in Swaziland has been dated as being over 43,000 years old. Sites have also been found in Hungary where Neanderthals may have mined flint for tools and weapons.
These early mines relied on the brute force action of smashing rock and stone out of the way using tools or other rocks. It wasn’t until the time of the Ancient Egyptians where people are first recorded as using fire to crack the harder rocks apart. These methods allowed the Egyptians to mine a huge variety of materials, and they sent their surveyors far and wide to source new sites in the surrounding areas rich in gold and precious stones.
The Romans took these fire setting methods to a new level by introducing the use of water to wash away any loose rocks and debris to expose the stone and any seams of precious metals in the rock. They would use fire setting to heat the rock before using their water supplies to cool it again quickly, leading to the rock to split apart due to the thermal shock this would induce.
Modern mining techniques rely heavily on technology and our improved scientific understanding of the physical world.