Aluminium and crystal fusion

UC RUSAL, a leading global aluminium producer, presented Award Medal Sets for the XXIX Winter Universiade 2019 in Krasnoyarsk.
8 December, 2018
The medals became the world's first awards for world-class sporting events, made of aluminum in combination with jewellery insert. Design of the medals was developed by the Universiade Directorate.
Its unique feature is a combination of metal and glass, which has long become the symbol of XXI century innovations (smartphones, skyscrapers, robots). Metal and crystal in medals reflect the uniqueness of Siberia, its nature. Due to the modern design, glitter of Siberian ice and warmth of Krasnoyarsk metal will remain with champions forever and will remind them of the games. The idea and design was highly appreciated by FISU.

A new aluminium alloy utilized in aerospace and shipbuilding was used to manufacture the medals. Its uniqueness is in a small admixture of scandium — a rare-earth element which allows to considerably increase service properties of aluminium items.
Image: TASS
Production of one medal is extremely labour intensive. It requires high qualification of workers who make each individual part with high precision. This is why the geography of medals production is very broad — each part of the production chain is responsible for compliance with the highest quality level of the end product. Thus, for example, Krasnoyarsk is responsible for production of aluminium alloy, carries out casting, rolling and primary processing. In Moscow and Obninsk, further high-precision processing, application of metal and assembly are carried out. A jewellery insert is delivered from Swarovski plant in Wattens. In Kostroma, embossing and jewellery works on signs production are carried out. Dubna and Kovrov supply ribbons and cases.
Images: TASS
Weight of medals varies from 247 to 250 grams, while, Olympic medals in Sochi reached 531 grams. With such relative lightness, the medals are as durable as their predecessors. Quality checks were carried to find out whether medals are prone to some defects and deformation: a medal was placed in a freezer for 15 days, dropped on a rigid surface from height of 1-1.5 m in vertical and horizontal positions. No separations or structural damages were found.

Method of assembly is worth of special attention. The effect of compression at low temperatures and expansion at high temperatures is the base in manufacturing medals resistant to temperature changes. Thermal expansion coefficient is 22 for aluminium and 9 for glass. It means that a glass insert will bear considerable pressure during Siberian severely cold weather. And special construction, mortise-and-tenon angle joint, will perfectly protect medal structure from all possible temperature fluctuations.

Images: TASS
RUSAL will supply the XXIX Winter Universiade 2019 with 1,401 medals
One medal comprises of several parts produced in 7 different cities
It takes 4 days to produce one medal
The technology of the medals' production was developed and mastered for 6 months
It should be noted that the assembly process itself is the most complicated and critical because specialists had to use strength and maximal precision at the same time. A slightest mistake can result in a reject, as none of the parts can be reused. That is why the production technology was developed with special thoroughness.

The medals are coated with noble metals to reflect the three prizes of gold, silver, and bronze. The manufactures of the awards will use approximately one ton of aluminum alloy, and no less than 420 grams of pure gold (999 rate) for coating.

Aluminium used in alloys to manufacture Universiade medals was produced at Krasnoyarsk Aluminium Smelter using the newest eco-friendly inert anode technology, which is on the final stage of industrial tests. Using the inert anode technology means global decrease of environmental impact in aluminium production because during metal production oxygen is generated, and greenhouse gas emissions are completely excluded.

Special attention is given to environmental friendliness of production all over the world. For example, the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games in Tokyo is planning to produce medals from repurposed metals in 2020, thus, increasing the importance of issues of environmental conservation and protection.
Banner image: TASS