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Using social principles in tendering may have been an idealist task a hardpressed manager could set aside at one time, but now, even small or underresourced teams are feeling the pressure – and seeing the potential rewards – of initiating change.
Local governments and authorities are increasingly taking social value into account on long-term projects with deep investments, even embedding this into policy and legislation in places.
In the UK, this had been a consideration for at least a decade but in 2021, stricter rules were introduced which required that social value be “explicitly evaluated in all central government procurement”, rather than simply considered. The legislation mandates social value to account for a minimum weighting of 10% of the total score in all government tenders. As a result, many private-sector organisations are finding their investors and stakeholders increasingly pushing them to follow suit.
For procurement teams, business goals can be as wide-ranging as the meaning of social value, and as such may be intimidating initially. For instance, while one government may advise organisations to focus on country-wide factors, such as economic inequality or Covid-19 recovery, another may target the public and wellbeing elements and equal opportunities.
But as a rule, the primary stage should be to establish a specific definition of the value being created and to tailor goals according to factors including whether it is a private, public or charity organisation, and the needs present in the operating location. In some countries, for instance, social value is often seen as synonymous with broader environmental issues, or more specifically, as “the S in ESG”, says Nic Walden, senior director, procurement and P2P advisory, UK programme leader at the Hackett Group.
“In this context, social value will include subjects such as supporting and addressing human and labour rights, workplace conditions, modern slavery, child labour, conflict minerals, poverty, hunger, health, sanitation and supplier diversity,” he says. In contrast, in the Middle East, the focus is not on the individual or population but economic health to create greater in-country value; while in Australia and New Zealand, indigenous social initiatives are especially important, says Heath Jess, managing director of Sydney-based consultancy Procurement Co.
Beware of potential pitfalls
One professional, who asked to remain anonymous, told Supply Management that unfocused or excessive zeal from procurement teams can be just as challenging for healthy supplier relationships as foot dragging when it comes to social value. Many procurement departments place the responsibility for implementing change on to suppliers, he says, but without a shared strategy this is a risky decision.
It could lead to scenarios where one day suppliers are asked how they intend to create equal opportunities within the workforce, and on another about their plans to support people with disabilities, or to facilitate community engagement. Such an approach can lead to supplier burnout and even frustration, as vendors attempt to respond to the varied and disjointed demands as they arise.
This approach can also make it difficult for a supplier to formulate an overarching and effective strategy of their own if they are pushed into tackling one particular area of social value, and therefore fragmenting their plans. Melissa Bell, sustainable procurement manager at advisory company YPO, makes a similar point: “If you are asking something of your suppliers that is not feasible for them or beyond their scope, it is likely that they would need to increase their costs to be able to fulfil that, or that they would not be able to meet expectations.”
She notes that the point of social value legislation and guidance is to get procurers to think about how they interact with the communities they connect with, of the benefits they can deliver alongside supply partners, not simply demanding that suppliers take on additional work.
Working alongside suppliers
Change consultants generally agree that the best way to avoid putting too much pressure too quickly onto suppliers is by employing a process of clarity, two-way communication, and by maintaining a consistent focus on an area of social value suppliers can align with. Neil Amos, policing and justice lead at PA Consulting, recommends procurement to work with suppliers to set a clear strategy about how they can help deliver social value objectives and to be upfront about the strategy, goals, pathway and expectations.
The need to formulate an overall social value strategy before seeking results via individual tenders is of the utmost importance. “Social value should not be an afterthought. It should form part of the procurement process from the beginning and be a key focus throughout conversations and decision-making,” says Bell. For many organisations the range of choices on offer can be confusing, such as whether it’s better to switch to local or diverse sourcing.
To support decision-making, Amos advises leaders to select a path “consistent with the organisation’s mission – the more closely aligned, the greater the impact”, such as a department of justice aligning with offender rehabilitation programmes to provide local jobs, or an agricultural authority focusing on a lighter environmental impact on neighbouring communities and habitats. “A banking tender is much more likely to be able to run budgeting courses for young people and children than installing a fence in local community spaces,” Bell says.
Once the organisation’s priorities have been defined, it is then possible to identify known suppliers or to seek out new suppliers with aligned objectives, says Guy Battle, CEO of the Social Value Portal, a company that helps measure social value. “For instance, if your organisation has committed to helping those furthest from the job market, using a supplier that actively offers ex-offenders an opportunity to get back into the workplace will form a link in the supply chain that significantly counts towards meeting your social value objectives,” he says.
Procurement can then ask potential suppliers to compete not only on price, but also on quality and on what they would contribute to society if they were to win those contracts. It is not intended to penalise non-compliant organisations, but to encourage them to work towards change as part of the local, national and global movement.
Be realistic and patient
Suppliers’ constraints can increase the challenge of pursuing social value in a given area. Managing director at Australian buyer-supplier matching platform Matchboard, Sharon Melamed, says that in Australia many buyers wish to support indigenous suppliers as part of their procurement strategy but find there are not enough indigenous-owned businesses to meet demand. “I have heard it directly from procurement leaders at large organisations, who may have a 2% or even 5% indigenous spend target and just can’t find ways to spend these amounts,” she says.
Jess suggests buyers can address such difficulties by offering more than one way to work with a chosen group, such as employing indigenous people as a percentage of a workforce or by funding indigenous initiatives. He also advises contributing by offering pro bono support to indigenous businesses or charities and avoiding ‘yes/no’ response requirements in tender documents, which might make it harder for indigenous-owned businesses to win contracts.
And when it comes to measuring outcomes, again, there are many options and no definitive frontrunner – a situation that many social value advisers recognise makes benchmarking difficult. “Often, it’s left to the supplier to say how they are going to measure it,” says Amos. “This makes comparing like for like difficult.”
However, an increasingly popular measuring standard – and one recommended by Walden – is the National TOMs (themes, outcomes, measures) framework developed by SVP in conjunction with the National Social Value Taskforce in the UK. Based on non-financial data, the framework enables an organisation to put a monetary value against the contribution an organisation makes to society, SVP’s Battle explains.
“From a procurement perspective, having a clear, reportable framework makes it far easier to compare supplier bids on the non-financial aspects of their tender,” he adds. This helps to level the playing field – especially important in the public sector, but also relevant to the private sector. Amos advises keeping measurement efforts in proportion with the size of the project and concentrating measurement efforts on longer-term, larger projects. “Try to align it behind the strategic objectives of that organisation, using industry-standard metrics. This provides a better chance of coming up with a set of common measurements that suppliers can use consistently,” he says.
Regardless of the specifics of a social value project, the majority of consultants advise procurement to focus on delivery; the importance of delivering results and not good intentions. This inevitably includes exercising patience and employing thorough communications in any new social value initiative to ensure suppliers are not left shouldering the burden of change. “Everyone is learning,” says Amos. “I think the more dialogue between supplier and customer about the best way collectively to deliver social value, the better.”
The core principles of creating a social value strategy
A plan could take a variety of formats, but it’s critical to include the following:
(MENAFN- Edelman) Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 27 November, 2022 – King Abdullah Financial District Development & Management Company (KAFD DMC) has been honoured with the prestigious Procurement Excellence programme by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS).
PEP is a globally-recognised award presented to those organisations demonstrating excellence in their procurement and supply chain activities. The award drives regular improvements, value across supply chains and highlights procurement’s role as a fundamental part of an organisation’s strategy and effectiveness.
KAFD DMC's procurement team accomplished this feat in just five months, a distinctive accomplishment benchmarked against the wider industry. KAFD DMC is only the second company in the Kingdom to achieve this standard. The award was presented at a special ceremony attended by Gautam Sashittal, KAFD CEO and Sam Achampong, Managing Director CIPS in the KAFD Conference Centre.
KAFD DMC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and oversees the development of King Abdullah Financial District. KAFD is a landmark project and a key driver of Riyadh’s economic ambitions. Set in the heart of the capital, KAFD is home to 1.6 million square meters of state-of-the-art office space, world-class entertainment venues and iconic luxury residences.
CIPS is the world’s largest professional body for procurement and the supply chain in most regions of the world. It is the standard bearer for the industry in terms of defining and promoting best practices. Recognising robust and effective governance processes, the CIPS Procurement Excellence Programme is an independent and comprehensive assessment of organisation’s procurement functions, which is designed and delivered by world-class, leading specialists.
Gautam Sashittal, CEO KAFD, said, “The award is a testament to KAFD's commitment to making sustainable practices central to the district's supply and management. As the world’s largest LEED-certified neighbourhood, KAFD is committed to maintaining high standards of energy efficiency and reducing water use, as well as ensuring sustainable practices across procurement processes. This award from CIPS is yet another stamp of global credibility on KAFD’s international reputation in this regard. We are immensely proud of our team for achieving this award in record time.”
Sam Achampong, Managing Director CIPS, explained, “This award recognises the hard work of talented professionals in the industry, and increases their credibility. The subject of sustainability is gradually being integrated into every segment of industries, which has helped strike meaningful collaborations, and attract excellent vendors.”
Situated in Riyadh, KAFD is an iconic business and lifestyle destination with state-of-the-art physical and digital infrastructure. The destination is owned and managed by King Abdullah Financial District Development and Management Company (KAFD DMC), which was established in 2018 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. KAFD’s 94 towers, designed by 25 world-leading architectural firms, are reshaping the skyline of Riyadh. The vibrant mixed-use district offers a range of experiences across its area of 1.6 million square meters and is the largest development globally to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest accreditation from USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council), which recognizes KAFD as a global leader in sustainability.
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Aster DM Healthcare has received the CIPS (Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply) Corporate Procurement and Supply Kite Mark certificate as a recognition for its achievement in ethical procurement. Aster DM Healthcare is one of the few companies in UAE to be awarded with this recognition. The achievement recognizes Aster’s stringent efforts to ensure excellence in quality standards followed across the organisation’s 26 hospitals, 116 clinics and 238 pharmacies across GCC and India, by complying with global ethical standards that promotes fair and transparent procurement, ethical sourcing and supplier management.
Speaking on the achievement, Ms. Alisha Moopen, Deputy Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare said, “At Aster DM Healthcare, we put prime importance on maintaining the highest standards of quality of care provided by our facilities and this requires working with best-in-class suppliers and partners who continue to collaborate with us basis our shared values. The announcement is a recognition of our efforts to uphold and live-by our core organizational value of Integrity by which we remain committed to do the right thing without any compromises, embrace a higher standard of conduct and assure all our stakeholders of our ethical processes.”
Aster DM Healthcare has taken proactive steps to safeguard the organization against unethical conduct in procurement and supply management, reinforcing the organisation’s focus on sourcing ethically. In the current pandemic where healthcare organisations are faced with unprecedented challenges due to global shortages of key resources, Aster has ensured that no compromises are made in providing the best amenities to employees, customers and patients.
China’s bid to build a yuan-centred clearing house poses no imminent threat of supplanting the US-dominated global financial system amid few signs that Russia is turning to its ally’s platform to evade Western sanctions, experts said on Wednesday.
China’s Cross-Border Interbank Payment System, or CIPS, has garnered renewed attention this year as a potential alternative for Moscow to settle its international payments and carry out financial transactions.
The possibility emerged amid Western sanctions barring Russian banks from access to the global payment messaging system known as the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, or SWIFT, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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To date, there is no “smoking gun evidence” that Russian institutions have used CIPS to transact and “meaningfully” evade sanctions imposed by the US, according to Emily Jin of the Centre for a New American Security, a think tank.
“But that’s the fear right down the line ... for entities to be able to practice that,” Jin said at a virtual event hosted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington on Wednesday.
Felix Chang, a visiting law professor at the Ohio State University, agreed no direct line could be drawn at present between CIPS and sanctions evasion.
“If it’s all still dollar-denominated transactions at the international level, CIPS can’t leverage its way into displacing the dollar and therefore SWIFT,” Chang said at the same event.
Experts in worldwide financial payments have debated whether Beijing was trying to circumvent Western embargoes aimed at Moscow. US officials earlier this year said evidence of such an effort was thus far scant.
Meanwhile, Chinese analysts have argued that the financial sanctions against Russia served as a wake-up call for Beijing to bolster its own cross-border payment system amid a growing risk of economic decoupling with Washington.
Launched in 2015, CIPS was created to provide an independent international yuan payment and clearing mechanism connecting both onshore and offshore clearing markets and participating banks.
The system is widely considered a major infrastructure to facilitate large-scale international use of the Chinese yuan, a mission started after the global financial crisis more than a decade ago. Support for CIPS appeared to gain traction as Beijing rolled out its ambitious trade-themed Belt and Road Initiative.
China’s expansion efforts of its financial systems go beyond CIPS. It leads the race among global central banks in the research and application of digital currencies with its digital yuan, also known as e-CNY, which offers an alternative to the US dollar in global settlements and broadens international use of the yuan.
CIPS now counts 1,353 users across 107 countries and territories, including 77 directly participating banks and 1,276 indirect participants, according to its Shanghai-based operator, CIPS Co, Ltd.
As of the end of last month, the system has processed nearly 3.49 million payment transactions, or a total value of about 78.5 trillion yuan (US$10.9 trillion) – up 27 and 20 per cent respectively from a year earlier, data from the operator showed.
“We call on banks and companies to proactively use the yuan on the one hand during trade, and push their trade counterparties to accept the yuan on the other hand,” CIPS CEO Xu Zaiyue said during the China International Import Expo on November 5.
“We can well resist the risk of exchange rate volatility through settling in yuan,” he added.
Speaking last month at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, President Xi Jinping called for promoting internationalisation of the yuan “in an orderly way”. That statement represented an arguably more committed tone than proceeding “in a prudent manner”, as Xi urged two years ago.
Yet SWIFT dwarfs CIPS in scope and scale. The Belgium-based association was founded in the 1970s and now encompasses more than 11,000 institutions spanning more than 200 countries and territories.
No Russian bank directly participates in CIPS now. And many economists believe China is unlikely to achieve a real internationalisation of the yuan without full capital-account liberalisation – a matter that has seen no major progress in years.
The Chinese yuan retained its position as the fifth-most active currency for global payments by value in October, with a share of 2.13 per cent. However, that showing puts it far behind the US dollar’s 42.05 per cent, according to data from SWIFT.
Jin of the Centre for a New American Security said alternative payment systems like CIPS would not pose a meaningful challenge to the US as long as the US dollar continued to be a pre-eminent currency in the world.
At the same time, CIPS could still become a more reliable pipeline with certain measures and pose a national security threat to the US, she said.
“China CIPS are developing. The United States should focus on how it can maintain leadership in international finance and continue to exert influence in a global financial ecosystem,” said Jin.
She recommended the US government support monitoring all alternative payment platforms outside the US, with measures to restrict their advancement and prevent sanctioned entities from taking advantage of these systems.
But Chang argued that CIPS was complementary and not necessarily antagonistic towards the established system.
He believed some American practices, like the liberal use of dollar-denominated sanctions, were responsible for substituting the US dollar in trade, a process known as de-dollarisation.
“There’s a lot that we’re doing to prompt de-dollarisation, raising interest rates with abandon without regard to what effect it has on the purchasing power of a lot of emerging economies,” Chang said.
More from South China Morning Post:
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CEO & Founder of National Business Capital, the leading fintech marketplace offering streamlined small business loans.
Almost everyone has heard, “It’s not personal; it’s just business.” While this phrase sounds okay on the surface, adopting this belief is actually more damaging than you’d think for your employees and customers.
Business is inherently personal because companies are made up of people who aren’t interested in one-size-fits-all approaches. No one wants to feel like a cog in a wheel, which is why taking a personal approach in business often leads to better performance and greater satisfaction in your work.
If you want to take a personal approach in your business, this starts with how you treat your employees and customers. If these relationships aren’t as strong as you would like them to be, here are some strategies for improving them.
Salary will always play a role in an employee’s job satisfaction, but now, a higher salary doesn’t have as much negotiation power as before. The “great resignation” has forced many companies to see that their old ways aren’t cutting it in the current environment. It isn’t just recommended to take a more personal approach to your business relationships—it’s a necessity to keep your team from migrating to the competition.
Employees need to feel that their work has meaning and, more importantly, see how it contributes to the greater good. Here are a few ways you can begin taking a personal approach with your employees:
Be transparent: There’s nothing more frustrating than working in a job where it feels like management is constantly withholding information. You’re not protecting your employees from anything—you’re creating unnecessary anxiety in the office. Be honest with your team and let them know what’s happening in the business—they’ll be more committed to the company because of it.
Provide opportunities to advance: It’s hard to experience job satisfaction if you don’t feel like you’re growing and getting better at what you do. Look for ways to provide your employees opportunities to advance, and talk to them about new positions that will be available as the company grows.
Remember birthdays: Don’t let staff birthdays come and go without acknowledging them. Mark the dates of all your employees’ birthdays in your calendar and order them a cake, or something similar, to celebrate. It may seem like a small gesture, but it will go a long way toward showing your employees you care about them.
Your customers drive your business, so you need to consider their interactions with your company from their point of view. Staying connected to your customers and showing them you care about their opinion will build long-term brand loyalty, much like it would if you were in their shoes.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by simply thanking your customers for their business. If you’re a small business, you may be able to call each customer personally and thank them for their support.
Another option is to send cards thanking your customers for their business. You can also send holiday cards to show your appreciation, but you don’t just want to engage your customers when things are going well—it’s just as important to reach out when there’s a problem.
Instead of seeing complaints as a hassle, use them as opportunities to strengthen the relationship with your customers. Mistakes are inevitable, and when you apologize and do what you can to fix the problem, it builds trust with your customers.
As a business owner, you need to find ways to motivate and inspire your employees. Happy employees will be more productive, more engaged with their work, and more creative, which can also lead to lower employee turnover rates and help your bottom line.
Your goal with each customer is to increase the customer lifetime value (CLV). A high CLV means that customer brings in more revenue for your business. By building credibility and trust with your customers, you’ll lower your customer churn and, of course, make each customer more impactful for your longevity.
As technology becomes more advanced, it’s easy for businesses to lose sight of what really matters. We can automate processes and communicate with our team/customers through apps for convenience, but if we don’t focus on the human component of our relationships, simplicity becomes much less important.
When you take a personal approach in business, you treat your employees and customers as individuals and look for personalized solutions to every problem. You look beyond your CRM and Slack to find ways to build strong relationships—an old approach to a new challenge. Take the time, put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and strategize to implement systems that benefit your team and customers just as much as your profit line.
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Cofactr is a logistics and supply chain tech company that provides scalable warehousing and procurement for electronics manufacturers. The company today announced it raised a $6 million round of seed funding, to “lead the next generation of agile hardware materials management.” The company raised on a SAFE note with a $25 million cap. We spoke to the company’s team to learn more about its vision of the future.
Cofactr addresses a suite of challenges for electronics producers through pre-manufacturing, third-party logistics services and supply chain automation. By providing these products as a unified strategic solution, the goal is to enable hardware manufacturers the ability to get to production volume without investing in the specialized facilities or headcount historically needed to manage electronic components.
“Both Phil [Gulley, the company’s CRO and co-founder] and I are driven by the desire to solve problems. Before Cofactr, we were working on the engineering and solutions side of hardware with our previous company, BeSide Digital, starting off in the entertainment industry and growing to support companies like Zoox, Google and CrowdStrike across product and custom hardware for marketing,” said Matthew Haber, co-founder and CEO of Cofactr in an interview with TechCrunch. “A challenge we had, and saw reflected in the processes of our clients, was that building and scaling hardware felt incredibly laborious in comparison to software. After we sold BeSide, electronic supply chain and logistics was the biggest and most personal problem we could address.”
The company told me that the journey to Cofactr’s current state wasn’t entirely linear. The company initially built and ran a contract manufacturer for circuit board assembly, but realized that wasn’t the right context to tackle these problems. From there, the company evolved to build electronics-specific third-party logistics and procurement automation.
“Having worked in hardware and software we had the opportunity to experience both ecosystems and knew how easy things could be when technology bridges gaps between ideas and scale,” said Gulley. “That was the insight that Cofactr was born out of. It’s the company we wished existed when we were on the engineering side of the table.”
The investment round was led by Bain Capital Ventures with participation from Y Combinator, Broom Ventures, Cathexis Ventures, Sweet Spot Capital, Pioneer Fund, Seed River, Litani Ventures, Correlation Ventures and a few angel investors.
“The big players on the cap table are Bain Capital Ventures (BCV) and Y Combinator. YC helped us focus on finding and providing the things that people really loved about Cofactr and set us up to meet Ajay Agarwal at BCV, which immediately felt like a match. The BCV team understood the opportunities that can come out of a business that integrates hardware, logistics and software into a single solution, as well as the challenges that come with building in many areas simultaneously,” says Gulley.
The investors, in turn, see a future where the Cofactr team can put a dent in how electronics are manufactured.
“When we first met Cofactr founders, I was really impressed with their understanding of the challenges of electronic component procurement. We’ve never seen anything similar to the integrated software and logistics system they’ve built. It combines cloud procurement software, a network of suppliers and a turn-key logistics platform that handles shipping, customs management, counterfeit insurance, inventory, kitting and shipping management,” says Agarwal, partner at BCV, in an interview with TechCrunch. “With the Cofactr platform, hardware manufacturers can find electronic components, check pricing, order parts, handle replenishment and send parts to their partner manufacturers. Behind the scenes, Cofactr handles everything including the acquisition of the parts, storage and management of the inventory, control checks to ensure the inventory is not counterfeit and regular shipments of components to manufacturers.”
Cofactr appears to represent a continuation of BCV’s focus on logistics and supply chain. The investor has backed companies such as Kiva Systems (robotic fulfillment sold to Amazon); FourKites (supply chain visibility — which raised $30 million back in August); ShipBob (cloud fulfillment for e-commerce brands); TruckSmarter (mobile app to allow freight drivers to find and book their next load) and now Cofactr. In addition, it made an investment in Flux, which operates in a similar space, last year.
Of course, the pandemic, in particular, exposed many cracks in the supply chain. Ford, for example, warned its investors that it had to eat an additional $1 billion of costs in Q3 this year, largely due to supply chain challenges, and GM saw a 40% drop in profits in Q2 this year. It ain’t pretty out there, but that’s the fertile ground in which supply chain startups get to sow their opportunities.
“Electronics components were particularly hard to come by. That meant a lot of challenges for hardware companies, whether they’re building dishwashers, robots or smart speakers. In a handful of industries, we think there is an opportunity to create a vertically integrated software and logistics solution,” Agarwal explains. “A good example of this is ShipBob and what they built for mid-market e-commerce brands. Cofactr is doing this for procurement of electronic components, with a complete software-and-logistics solution for hardware manufacturers.”
The ultimate goal for Cofactr is to make hardware not-so-hard, the founders quip.
“There is starting to be a real groundswell of startups attacking the hardware engineering space, but we all have to interconnect and work together in the same way that software development tools do. You’ll be seeing more collaboration between Cofactr, other startups and well-established organizations that serve hardware,” says Gulley. “Fast-forward a few years and we see Cofactr as the cloud solution for pre-manufacturing infrastructure. Our vision feels something like the hardware manufacturing version of AWS; on-demand, cloud-based solutions for physical manufacturing. Today, companies can take a software product from MVP to massive scale without crippling infrastructure investments. In a decade, the same will be true for building hardware products and we believe that Cofactr will be a core enabler of that transformation.”
All of this makes a lot of sense in the context of the U.S. wanting to build a more reliable and resilient on-shore manufacturing capacity. The CHIPS act is making some real waves in the semiconductor industry, and there’s been a fair chunk of investment in logistics and electronics manufacturing in the past year. Last month, Makersite raised $18 million and Altana picked up $100 million.
A new approach uses data from one type of test on small metal alloy samples to extract enough information for building databases that can be used to predict the properties and potentials of new materials. The details were published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials: Methods.
The test is called instrumented indentation. It involves driving an indenter tip into a material to probe some of its properties, such as hardness and elastic stiffness. Scientists have been using the data extracted from instrumented indentation to estimate the stress-strain curve of materials using computational simulations.
This curve, and the data it provides, is important for understanding a material's properties. That data is also used for building massive materials databases, which can be used, in conjunction with artificial intelligence, for predicting new materials.
A problem scientists face is that this approach for estimating material properties is limited when it comes to materials called "high work-hardening alloys": metal alloys, like steel, that are strengthened through physical processes like rolling and forging. Only so much information can be estimated from the curve of these materials. To get the necessary additional information needed to determine their properties, more experiments would need to be done, which costs time, effort and money.
Ta-Te Chen of the University of Tsukuba and Ikumu Watanabe of the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan have developed a new computational approach to extract that additional information from instrumented indentation tests on work-hardening alloys.
"Our approach builds on an already-existing model, making it ready for use in industry. It is also applicable to existing data, including hardness," says Watanabe.
The approach involves combining the results from two computational models, the power-law and linear hardening models, which produce their own individual stress-plastic strain curves from information gathered from indentation tests. Combining the data from both curves provides the extra data that, when added to the original stress-strain curve, shows a more holistic picture of the work-hardening alloys' properties.
The scientists validated their approach by using it on a high-work-hardening stainless steel.
"We have extended this approach to also evaluate mechanical properties at elevated temperatures, which can contribute to the development of high-temperature alloys," says Chen.
More information: Ta-Te Chen et al, Data-driven estimation of plastic properties in work-hardening model combining power-law and linear hardening using instrumented indentation test, Science and Technology of Advanced Materials: Methods (2022). DOI: 10.1080/27660400.2022.2129508
Citation: New approach extracts more data on steel alloys for materials databases (2022, November 7) retrieved 9 December 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-approach-steel-alloys-materials-databases.html
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Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory helped measure how unpaired electrons in atoms at one end of a molecule can drive chemical reactivity on the molecule's opposite side. As described in a paper recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, this work, in collaboration with Princeton University, shows how molecules containing these so-called free radicals could be used in a whole new class of reactions.
"Most reactions involving free radicals take place at the site of the unpaired electron," explained Brookhaven Lab chemist Matthew Bird, one of the co-corresponding authors on the paper. The Princeton team had become experts in using free radicals for a range of synthetic applications, such as polymer upcycling. But they've wondered whether free radicals might influence reactivity on other parts of the molecule as well, by pulling electrons away from those more distant locations.
"Our measurements show that these radicals can exert powerful 'electron-withdrawing' effects that make other parts of the molecule more reactive," Bird said.
The Princeton team demonstrated how that long-distance pull can overcome energy barriers and bring together otherwise unreactive molecules, potentially leading to a new approach to organic molecule synthesis.
The research relied on the combined resources of a Princeton-led DOE Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) focused on Bio-Inspired Light Escalated Chemistry (BioLEC). The collaboration brings together leading synthetic chemists with groups having advanced spectroscopic techniques for studying reactions. Its funding was recently renewed for another four years.
Robert Knowles, who led Princeton's role in this research, said, "This project is an example of how BioLEC's combined expertise enabled the team to quantify an important physical property of these radical species, that in turn allowed us to design the resulting synthetic methodology."
The Brookhaven team's major contribution is a technique called pulse radiolysis -- available only at Brookhaven and one other location in the U.S.
"We use the Laser Electron Accelerator Facility (LEAF) -- part of the Accelerator Center for Energy Research (ACER) in Brookhaven's Chemistry Division -- to generate intense high-energy electron pulses," Bird explained. "These pulses allow us to add or subtract electrons from molecules to make reactive species that might be difficult to make using other techniques, including short-lived reaction intermediates. With this technique, we can step into one part of a reaction and monitor what happens."
For the current study, the team used pulse radiolysis to generate molecules with oxygen-centered radicals, and then measured the "electron-withdrawing" effects on the other side of the molecule. They measured the electron pull by tracking how much the oxygen at the opposite side attracts protons, positively charged ions sloshing around in solution. The stronger the pull from the radical, the more acidic the solution has to be for protons to bind to the molecule, Bird explained.
The Brookhaven scientists found the acidity had to be high to enable proton capture, meaning the oxygen radical was a very strong electron withdrawing group. That was good news for the Princeton team. They then demonstrated that it's possible to exploit the "electron-withdrawing" effect of oxygen radicals by making parts of molecules that are generally inert more chemically reactive.
"The oxygen radical induces a transient 'polarity reversal' within the molecule -- causing electrons that normally want to remain on that distant side to move toward the radical to make the 'far' side more reactive," Bird explained.
These findings enabled a novel substitution reaction on phenol based starting materials to make more complex phenol products.
"This is a great example of how our technique of pulse radiolysis can be applied to cutting-edge science problems," said Bird. "We were delighted to host an excellent graduate student, Nick Shin, from the Knowles group for this collaboration. We look forward to more collaborative projects in this second phase of BioLEC and seeing what new problems we can explore using pulse radiolysis."
Brookhaven Lab's role in this work and the EFRC at Princeton were funded by the DOE Office of Science (BES). Princeton received additional funding for the synthesis work from the National Institutes of Health.
Substituting can be a tricky art, especially when stars are involved.
When massive stars explode, they can collapse into extremely dense — and mysterious — objects known as neutron stars. But neutron stars are too far away and much too small for even the most powerful telescopes to look inside, so scientists want to find a way to figure out what a neutron star is made of. In new research, astrophysicists tested a potential approach to determining the state of the matter inside a neutron star. (More familiar states of matter are solid, liquid and gas.)
What scientists want to know is a neutron star's equation of state, or EoS. This equation describes the properties of matter in an object or substance. But getting the precise measurements needed to solve this equation for a neutron star, especially its radius, has not been easy.
Related: Hubble Space Telescope finds neutron star collision's jet travels nearly as fast as light
So the researchers tested whether they could simplify the effort by substituting another measurement for the neutron star's radius. They turned to what scientists call the peak spectral frequency of the gravitational waves — ripples in space-time — that are emitted when neutron stars merge into one larger neutron star.
The glob of dense star stuff that remains after such a collision will spew out massive gravitational waves as it moves back and forth while rotating at breakneck speed. The signal from these waves can be picked up by the hypersensitive instruments of a gravitational wave observatory like the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).
"At least in principle, the peak spectral frequency can be calculated from the gravitational wave signal emitted by the wobbling remnant of two merged neutron stars," Elias Most, an astrophysicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in New Jersey and co-author on the new research, said in a statement.
Until now, scientists assumed f2 could stand in for a neutron star's radius because the two values are often linked to each other. But that is not always the case, the new research determined. Instead, to make the substitution work, scientists must incorporate a second value related to the neutron star's mass and radius.
The researchers hope that this determination will help scientists shed light on a theory that the neutrons in the cores of these stars break down into even smaller subatomic particles, called quarks.
The research is described in a paper published in July in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
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