Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ductile intermetallic compounds discovered

16.09.2003


Ames Laboratory researchers identify non-brittle intermetallics



To material scientists the phrase "ductile intermetallic compounds" has long been considered an oxymoron. Although these compounds possess chemical, physical, electrical, magnetic, and mechanical properties that are often superior to ordinary metals, their potential has gone untapped because they are typically quite brittle at room temperature. Until now.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University have discovered a number of rare earth intermetallic compounds that are ductile at room temperature. The discovery, announced in an article in the September issue of the journal Nature Materials, 2, PP 587-590, has the potential to make these promising materials more useful.


"Over the last several decades, tens of thousands of intermetallics have been identified," Ames Laboratory materials scientist Alan Russell said. "But in order to make them even somewhat ductile, a whole menu of ’tricks’ have been developed, such as testing them at high temperatures, or in zero-humidity, or shifting them off stoichiometry. The materials we’re studying are the first ones that don’t need these contrivances."

So far, the Ames Laboratory research team, led by senior metallurgist Karl Gschneidner, Jr. and Russell, has identified 12 fully ordered, completely stoichiometric intermetallic compounds. These compounds are formed by combining a rare earth element with certain main group or transition metals . The resulting binary compounds have a B2 crystal structure, like that found in cesium-chloride (CsCl), in which an atom of one element is surrounded by a cubic arrangement of eight atoms of the other element.

The study has focused on yttrium-silver (YAg), yttrium-copper (YCu), and dysprosium-copper (DyCu), but a preliminary examination of other rare earth compounds showed that cerium-silver (CeAg), erbium-silver (ErAg), erbium-gold (ErAu), erbium-copper (ErCu), erbium-iridium (ErIr), holmium-copper (HoCu), neodymium-silver (NdAg), yttrium-indium (YIn), and yttrium-rhodium (YRh) are also ductile.

Samples were prepared by arc-melting high-purity elements to form compounds with a 50-50 atomic mix of Y or Dy and Ag or Cu. X-ray diffraction, optical metallography, and electron microscopy confirmed the specimens were single-phase with the fully ordered B2 structure.

In tensile testing, these materials showed remarkable ductility. The YAg stretched nearly 25 percent before it fractured, compared to 2 percent or less for many other intermetallics. In other measurements, the materials showed ASTM fracture toughness values (KIC) comparable with commercial aircraft aluminum alloys.

Why these materials deform while other intermetallics shatter isn’t quite clear, but theoretical calculations by Ames Lab physicist James Morris show that the ductile materials possess much lower unstable stacking-fault energies. Because these energies are lower in the ductile materials, it is easier for them to plastically deform instead of fracturing at the grain boundaries.

"There are particular planes (within the B2 structure) that tend to slip most easily," Russell said, "and particular directions on those planes where deformation slip occurs most easily. However, our transmission electron micrographs identify slippage in more than one direction, so there are probably other factors at work as well."

While there may be applications for these ductile materials because of their other characteristics like high-temperature strength or corrosion resistance, Gschneidner and Russell hope that studying these materials will actually lead to a better understanding of the brittle intermetallics.

"The most exciting thing about this is finding a material that breaks all the rules. It provides a great opportunity to figure out fundamentally why the others are brittle," Russell said. "To see one that’s the exception gives you a new perspective on all the others."

Gschneidner added, "The exceptions are the ones you want to concentrate on because they can tell you a heck of a lot more than all the ones that obey the rules. It can steer you in a whole new direction."



The research is supported through funding from the DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Science. The Ames Laboratory is operated for the Department of Energy by ISU. The Laboratory conducts research into various areas of national concern, including energy resources, high-speed computer design, environmental cleanup and restoration, and the synthesis and study of new materials. More information about the Ames Laboratory can be found at www.ameslab.gov.

Note to editors: For images showing the material, tensile test results, or the scientists, please contact Kerry Gibson, kgibson@ameslab.gov.

Kerry Gibson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.external.ameslab.gov/
http://www.ameslab.gov

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds
27.02.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht Let it glow
27.02.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>