Keeping important technologies under British (and Western in general) control

Funnily enough my mother has a particular dislike of helium balloons, for years, for exactly that reason, once it's gone it's gone.

As for an analogy; consider coming back from holidays with a crate of your favourite foreign tipple (or other consumable).

The first few bottles get used quite quickly until you realise you only have a couple left. The penultimate one is saved for a special occasion, the last one is opened and drunk very sparingly indeed or it may languish unused in a cupboard forever.
Having reached the last couple of shots of this fine bottle of Glenlivet, I understand your analogy very well, thank you Sir and Slange Var!
 

Hairy-boab

War Hero
Funnily enough my mother has a particular dislike of helium balloons, for years, for exactly that reason, once it's gone it's gone.

As for an analogy; consider coming back from holidays with a crate of your favourite foreign tipple (or other consumable).

The first few bottles get used quite quickly until you realise you only have a couple left. The penultimate one is saved for a special occasion, the last one is opened and drunk very sparingly indeed or it may languish unused in a cupboard forever.
Although He is a good example of distorted supply and demand. There are very large reserves associated with oil and gas deposits for example.

Prices can oscillate wildly between outrageous and very cheap. People with access to state stockpiles (like US national labs) often also don’t bother to recover it after use. Things are even weirder for the rarer isotope, 3He.

See also ‘rare’ earths, diamonds, gold etc.
 
Further to the discussions about semi conductor fabs and chip shortages, apparently the semiconductor market is expected to shrink by 2.5 per cent next year and growth this year is expected to be well below previous predictions.
Semiconductor market to dip 2.5% next year as inflation hits

"Although chip shortages are abating, the global semiconductor market is entering a period of weakness, which will persist through 2023 when semiconductor revenue is projected to decline 2.5 percent," said Gartner's VP for semiconductors and electronics, Richard Gordon, in a statement accompanying the latest forecast.

The industry is highly cyclical and is expected to go through another down cycle.
"The semiconductor market is entering an industry down cycle, which is not new, and has happened many times before," he said back then.

However, certain market segments will still see continued growth, including those associated with electric vehicles.
 
Further to the discussions about semi conductor fabs and chip shortages, apparently the semiconductor market is expected to shrink by 2.5 per cent next year and growth this year is expected to be well below previous predictions.
Semiconductor market to dip 2.5% next year as inflation hits



The industry is highly cyclical and is expected to go through another down cycle.


However, certain market segments will still see continued growth, including those associated with electric vehicles.

Superficially, it perhaps seems weird that an industry that's suffered sever shortages will undergo a downturn, but the hysteresis between now and and a severe over-capacity situation is entirely predictable.
 
Superficially, it perhaps seems weird that an industry that's suffered sever shortages will undergo a downturn, but the hysteresis between now and and a severe over-capacity situation is entirely predictable.
The industry has long been prone to cycles of shortages followed by overcapacity. I suspect that to a large extent the problem is due to the high and ever increasing cost of building new fabs, the rapid pace of technology change, the global nature of the industry and customer base, and the fact that most production is of things that are more or less commodities.

Governments have long been heavily involved in the semiconductor business for a variety of reasons. The result has been that the industry has become concentrated in places as stated owned enterprises (Taiwan), or in centrally planned economies (South Korea and Japan), or in countries which have heavily state funded industrial investment policies (the US, particularly at the state level). All of the big centres of semiconductor manufacturing act as "non-market economies" when it comes to semiconductor manufacturing.

For countries that don't have infinitely deep pockets, focusing on specialized products is probably a more viable strategy than just trying to be another "me-too" big commodity producer.
 
The industry has long been prone to cycles of shortages followed by overcapacity. I suspect that to a large extent the problem is due to the high and ever increasing cost of building new fabs, the rapid pace of technology change, the global nature of the industry and customer base, and the fact that most production is of things that are more or less commodities.

Governments have long been heavily involved in the semiconductor business for a variety of reasons. The result has been that the industry has become concentrated in places as stated owned enterprises (Taiwan), or in centrally planned economies (South Korea and Japan), or in countries which have heavily state funded industrial investment policies (the US, particularly at the state level). All of the big centres of semiconductor manufacturing act as "non-market economies" when it comes to semiconductor manufacturing.

For countries that don't have infinitely deep pockets, focusing on specialized products is probably a more viable strategy than just trying to be another "me-too" big commodity producer.

As I said earlier, the shift to system-on-chip architecture may de-commoditise some of the market, so that might serve to smooth out the bumps at the cutting edge of the market. The lower end will continue to make commodity products, but their value is obviously much smaller per device.

Ultimately though, pretty much any manufacturing business has to continually innovate to remain competitive, and that is really hard and expensive in the semiconductor industry.
 

Yokel

LE
U.S. Passes Landmark Law to Fund Semiconductor Manufacturing

Legislation aimed at increasing semiconductor manufacturing in the United States has finally passed both houses of Congress, following a multiyear journey that saw many mutations and delays. The CHIPS and Science Act, provides about US $52 billion over 5 years to grow semiconductor manufacturing and authorizes a 25 percent tax credit for new or expanded facilities that make semiconductors or chipmaking equipment. It’s part of a $280 billion package aimed at improving the United States’ ability to compete in future technologies. And it comes amidst efforts by other nations and regions to boost chip manufacturing, an industry increasingly seen as a key to economic and military security.

“This is going to make a huge difference in how the U.S. does innovation,” says Russell T. Harrison, acting managing director of IEEE-USA, who has been involved in the legislation since its beginnings more than two years ago.

The bill’s $52 billion includes $39 billion in grants for new manufacturing, $11 billion for federal semiconductor research programs and workforce development, and $2 billion for Defense Department–related microelectronics activities.
 

Yokel

LE
If Helium is so scare then how come I popped into a card shop today and saw Helium balloons for sale, and bottles to keep them topped up? How many valuable materials are wasted on trivial things by an unthinking public?

Engaging with the public will be need to prevent needless waste of all sorts of things.
 
How many valuable materials are wasted on trivial things by an unthinking public?
The entire Enlightenment, for one.
 

Yokel

LE
Cyber security needs work...

Hackers hacked into Europe's largest missile manufacturer MBDA - 60 GB of data on SAMs, missile systems and contracts stolen

Hackers claim to have stolen 60 GB of data. They gained access to confidential information on MBDA employees who were involved in sensitive military projects and in projects for the European Union's Defense Ministry.

The hackers have in their hands drawings, photo and video materials, presentations, contractual agreements, design documentation on missile systems, surface-to-air missile systems and coast guard systems. Adrastea also gained access to MBDA correspondence with other companies, including Netcomgroup, Rafael, Thales and Rampini Carlo.

The hackers want money for the company's stolen data package and are ready to discuss the amount. MBDA has not yet commented on the hack.

Source:
Security Affairs
 

Charles1948

Old-Salt
If Helium is so scare then how come I popped into a card shop today and saw Helium balloons for sale, and bottles to keep them topped up? How many valuable materials are wasted on trivial things by an unthinking public?

Engaging with the public will be need to prevent needless waste of all sorts of things.
Helium is an inert gas and doesn't form chemical compounds. As you know. So it's rare.
Whereas Hydrogen relishes combining with practically anything, so it can be extracted from all sorts of stuff.

I share your displeasure with the needless waste of Helium in trivia such as children's balloons.

These balloons could filled with hydrogen. Which wouldn't cause any significant damage even if ignited.

So why have the children's balloons got helium in them - is there a reason
 

Hairy-boab

War Hero
Helium is an inert gas and doesn't form chemical compounds. As you know. So it's rare.
Whereas Hydrogen relishes combining with practically anything, so it can be extracted from all sorts of stuff.

I share your displeasure with the needless waste of Helium in trivia such as children's balloons.

These balloons could filled with hydrogen. Which wouldn't cause any significant damage even if ignited.
Uuum.. you first. Try releasing a balloon worth of hydrogen in a car, then sparking up a fag. Explosive over 4-77 mol% hydrogen.
So why have the children's balloons got helium in them - is there a reason
Because it is still obviously cheap enough. Industry uses liquified stuff, which has a much higher density and price.
 

Yokel

LE
Uuum.. you first. Try releasing a balloon worth of hydrogen in a car, then sparking up a fag. Explosive over 4-77 mol% hydrogen.

Because it is still obviously cheap enough. Industry uses liquified stuff, which has a much higher density and price.

I feel that this is going off thread, but is Hydrogen as super dangerous as many think? I remember seeing a documentary in which a former NASA engineer in which he presented the theory that its dangerous reputation was largely due to it being blamed for the Hindenberg disaster. The programme looked at the footage and eye witness accounts and concluded that the fire has a yellow flame, not a blue one that Hydrogen would produce.

The conclusion was that the yellow flame was caused by the combustion of the dope used to coat the gas bags, and either a lightning strike or an electrostatic discharge caused the initial spark.

The ex NASA guy commented that he had spent his career working with Hydrogen and it was not that easy to ignite.
 

Hairy-boab

War Hero
I feel that this is going off thread, but is Hydrogen as super dangerous as many think? I remember seeing a documentary in which a former NASA engineer in which he presented the theory that its dangerous reputation was largely due to it being blamed for the Hindenberg disaster. The programme looked at the footage and eye witness accounts and concluded that the fire has a yellow flame, not a blue one that Hydrogen would produce.

The conclusion was that the yellow flame was caused by the combustion of the dope used to coat the gas bags, and either a lightning strike or an electrostatic discharge caused the initial spark.

The ex NASA guy commented that he had spent his career working with Hydrogen and it was not that easy to ignite.
Can I work safely with hydrogen? Yes, I do it fairly regularly. However, there is always a chance of some utter mong demolishing the institute/department etc. Safety rules tend to be written with them in mind, and hydrogen gas should never be in the hands of the general public IMV.
 

Chef

LE
Can I work safely with hydrogen? Yes, I do it fairly regularly. However, there is always a chance of some utter mong demolishing the institute/department etc. Safety rules tend to be written with them in mind, and hydrogen gas should never be in the hands of the general public IMV.
Unless mixed with Oxygen although Dihydrogen Monoxide is still dangerous, from Thw Washington Post:

DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE: UNRECOGNIZED KILLER​


By James K. Glassman
October 21, 1997
The chemical compound dihydrogen monoxide (or DHMO) has been implicated in the deaths of thousands of Americans every year, mainly through accidental ingestion. In gaseous form, it can cause severe burns. And, according to a new report, "the dangers of this chemical do not end there."
The chemical is so caustic that it "accelerates the corrosion and rusting of many metals, . . . is a major component of acid rain, {and} . . . has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients." Symptoms of ingestion include "excessive sweating and urination," and "for those who have developed a dependency on DHMO, complete withdrawal means certain death."
Yet the presence of the chemical has been confirmed in every river, stream, lake and reservoir in America.

Known about for over a quarter of a century yet still pretty much unregulated.
 

Yokel

LE
Here is an interesting paragraph from this story about the supply of Rolls Royce engines for the Boxer armoured vehicle:

The Boxer programme aims to develop a resilient UK supply chain for Boxer. As such, WFEL and RBSL are part of a Boxer Joint Procurement Team, which has engaged suppliers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Rolls Royce is the latest in a series of suppliers confirmed for the programme.

@Not a Boffin may recall the issues with some of the part manufacturers for the intercoolers for the troubled WR-21 marine gas turbine. Maybe the lesson has been learnt?
 

Yokel

LE
This is something to make you think - a de facto blockade and disruption of international shipping the the flow of materials and goods by deploying warships on exercises. Welcome to the grey zone - an renewed era of Violent Peace:



The international system is being challenged not just by this, but the war in Ukraine and blockade of grain needed by millions, and Iranian trouble making in the Arabian Gulf/Sea.
 
The international system is being challenged
No, just who gets to control it. It's important to separate out the two concepts.
 

Yokel

LE
RUSI - Semiconductor Supply Puts the UK’s Energy Transition at Risk

Evidence provided for the UK government’s inquiry into the domestic semiconductor industry illustrates the UK’s uphill battle to secure supply chains for its energy transition and net zero goals.

In May 2022, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) select committee launched an inquiry into the UK’s supply of semiconductors and its domestic semiconductor industry. This was prompted by a global shortage of semiconductors due to increased demand throughout the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the still anticipated acquisition of the UK’s seminal microchip manufacturing plant, Newport Wafer Fab. The possible acquisition has raised doubts around national security and the UK government’s strategy to secure its supply of semiconductors for critical technologies.

Although the two-year-long semiconductor shortage has led to severe delays in the supply of vehicles, gaming consoles and healthcare technology, limited supply and increased demand for semiconductors is already having substantial implications for the net zero transition. As just one example, smart meter manufacturing companies are currently struggling to meet demand due to finite semiconductor resources.

This comes at a time when the UK’s energy security has also been impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The invasion has exacerbated the UK’s gas crisis, highlighting the risks from existing fossil fuel supply chains. It has also directly impacted the semiconductor shortage, as Ukraine contains two of the largest suppliers of neon, which is vital for the microchip manufacturing process. Both suppliers were forced to shut down operations less than a month after the invasion. Mitigating the impact of these events on the UK’s ongoing energy transition should be a top priority for government, and a strategic approach to protecting semiconductor supply is crucial.
 

Yokel

LE
Look - someone is building a semiconductor plant in Europe, well out of the way of the weapons of the PRC or DPRK.

Reuters - Exclusive: Italy, Intel close to $5 billion deal for chip factory

ROME, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Italy is close to clinching a deal initially worth $5 billion with Intel (INTC.O) to build an advanced semiconductor packaging and assembly plant in the country, two sources briefed on discussions told Reuters on Thursday.

Intel's investment in Italy is part of a wider plan announced by the U.S. chipmaker earlier this year to invest $88 billion in building capacity across Europe, which is striving to cut its reliance on Asian chip imports and ease a supply crunch that has curbed output in the region's strategic car sector.
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Eccellente!
 
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