Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Type of Strong, Lightweight Metallic Material

10.03.2005


An engineering professor at the University of California, San Diego has described in the March issue of JOM (the Journal of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society) the unique properties of a new type of metallic laminate that can serve as armor and as a replacement for beryllium, a strong but toxic metal commonly used in demanding aerospace applications.



“The new material we developed is environmentally safe, and while its stiffness equals that of steel, it’s only half as dense,” said Kenneth S. Vecchio, author of the paper and a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering. “It performs spectacularly in our depth-of-penetration ballistics tests, but we think its greatest potential may derive from its unique ability to have its structure and properties tailored to meet a wide variety of application-specific engineering requirements.”

The new material is made primarily of two lightweight metals. Vecchio alternated layers of aluminum and titanium alloy foils, and compressed and heated them in an inexpensive energy-conserving process. The resulting reaction generated a laminate with two layers: a hard ceramic-like “intermetallic” layer of titanium aluminide, and a pliable layer of residual titanium alloy. The layers can be stacked like 1-millimeter-thick pages of a book, and even contoured into desired shapes prior to heating.


The laminate architecture was chosen by Vecchio to mimic the internal structure of the tough shell of the red abalone. This science-mimicking-biology approach is one of an increasing number of biomimetic research efforts at the Jacobs School of Engineering. Faculty members are studying structural and functional designs of everything from mollusk shells and bird bills to sea urchin spines and other biocomposites in the development of new smart materials and devices.

The red abalone, a seaweed-eating snail prized as a source of mother-of-pearl jewelry, is found off the coast of California. The mollusk makes its dome-shaped home by slowly adding layers of brittle calcium carbonate, each about one-thousandth the thickness of a strand of human hair, between even thinner layers of a stretchy protein adhesive.

“The intermetallic phase of titanium aluminide is the complement of the mollusk’s hard calcium carbonate phase, and the titanium alloy layer mimics the abalone shell’s compliant protein layers,” said Vecchio.

In order to test the bullet-stopping capability of his new material, Vecchio fired a heavy tungsten alloy rod into a three-quarters-inch (2 centimeters) thick sample at a velocity of about 2,000 mph (900 meters per second). The rod penetrated only half the thickness of the test sample. Vecchio said the laminate performs surprisingly well as armor and has potential as a structural metal.

He said other types of metallic foils containing vanadium, chromium, manganese, nickel, cobalt, and iron have been successfully fabricated into laminates using the same stacked foil technique. “We’ve only begun to explore the possible combinations and potential uses of these promising new materials,” said Vecchio.

He described in his paper the production of cavities within his laminate layers, which were made by cutting out parts of the foil prior to heating. In one case, he filled cavities with steel beads, which were free to bounce within their confines and act as highly efficient vibration dampeners. “This vibration-dampening characteristic could be extremely valuable in jet engines and other high-performance applications prone to noisy vibration,” said Vecchio.

It’s also possible to include electrical pathways within the laminates by embedding metal or ceramic wires or fibers during fabrication, and those components could both strengthen the material and act as built-in sensors. In addition, Vecchio said the laminates could be further enhanced with the addition of materials that generate an electric charge when mechanically deformed. Conversely, these so-called piezoelectric materials also deform when an electric field is applied to them.

| newswise
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Graphene origami as a mechanically tunable plasmonic structure for infrared detection
25.04.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Scientists create innovative new 'green' concrete using graphene
24.04.2018 | University of Exeter

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's smallest optical implantable biodevice

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

First Li-Fi-product with technology from Fraunhofer HHI launched in Japan

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>