Scientists at Yale University have devised a dramatically faster way of identifying and characterizing complex alloys known as bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), a versatile type of pliable glass that's stronger than steel.
Using traditional methods, it usually takes a full day to identify a single metal alloy appropriate for making BMGs. The new method allows researchers to screen about 3,000 alloys per day and simultaneously ascertain certain properties, such as melting temperature and malleability.
"Instead of fishing with a single hook, we're throwing a big net," said Jan Schroers, senior author of the research, which was published online April 13 in the journal Nature Materials. "This should dramatically hasten the discovery of BMGs and new uses for them."
BMGs are metal alloys composed typically of three or more elements, such as magnesium, copper, and yttrium (Mg-Cu-Y). Certain combinations of elements, when heated and cooled to specific temperatures at specific rates, result in materials with unusual plasticity and strength. They can be used for producing hard, durable, and seamless complex shapes that no other metal processing method can.
Already used in watch components, golf clubs, and other sporting goods, BMGs also have likely applications in biomedical technology, such as implants and stents, mobile phones, and other consumer electronics, said Schroers, who is professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science.
He said there are an estimated 20 million possible BMG alloys. About 120,000 metallic glasses have been produced and characterized to date.
Using standard methods, it would take about 4,000 years to process all possible combinations, Schroers has calculated. The new method could reduce the time to about four years.
The technique combines a process called parallel blow forming with combinatorial sputtering. Blow forming generates bubble gum-like bubbles from the alloys and indicates their pliability. Co-sputtering is used for fabricating thousands of alloys simultaneously; alloy elements are mixed at various controlled ratios, yielding thousands of millimeter size and micron thick samples.
"Instead of blowing one bubble on one material, we blow-form 3,000 bubbles on 3,000 different materials," Schroers said.
Since 2010, he and his research team have tested about 50,000 alloys using the new method and identified three specific new BMG alloys. They are focused on 10 alloy families.
Ideal BMGs offer plasticity during the manufacturing process, durability, and biocompatibility, along with affordability, Schroers said. Some constituent elements can be costly.
The paper is titled "Combinatorial development of bulk metallic glasses."
Shiyan Ding is lead author. Co-authors Yanhui Liu, Yanglin Li, Ze Liu, Sungwoo Sohn, and Fred J. Walker, all of Yale.
The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy provided support for the research.
Eric Gershon | Eurek Alert!
Decoding cement's shape promises greener concrete
08.12.2016 | Rice University
Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D
08.12.2016 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine