This story was originally posted on Students For Liberty’s blog.
In “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand forewarned that the ever-growing mindset placing society over the individual is destructive to economic creativity. Hank Rearden, one of Rand’s central characters, is a self-made entrepreneur. He invents Rearden Metal, which is an alloy stronger, lighter, and cheaper than steel. Turns out, Rand’s fiction was quite similar to reality. Gary Cola, a real-life Hank Rearden, is an amateur metallurgist and entrepreneur. Cola has developed a new form of steel called Bainite Steel. Like Rearden Metal, Bainite Steel has the potential to revolutionize the world; although this time, it’s not fiction.
What’s so Rearden about Bainite Steel?
Bainite Steel is purportedly 7 percent stronger than regular steel. In fact, its strength-to-weight ratio is higher than titanium (of the 6Al-4V variety). Bainite requires only 56% the volume of this form of titanium to maintain the same strength. Also, the process to create Bainite Steel is much cheaper and faster. Typically, regular steel sheets are heat-treated at around 900 degrees Celsius – a process that can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Cola’s entire process, on the other hand, uses rollers that carry the sheets through flames as hot as 1,100 degrees Celsius and then sends the sheets through a cooling liquid bath. The entire process takes less than 10 seconds and gives Bainite Steel its characteristic strength and ductile qualities. Given that Bainite’s strength-by-volume is much higher – and its production costs much lower – the metal is useful for a large array of applications.
Many speculators are already pondering the applications and uses of the metal. Continue reading