Students Testing Identifies Metal Mix with Superior Mechanical Properties
This lab setup enabled a Johns Hopkins undergraduate to test the mechanical properties of platinum alloys.
Using a high-tech but low-cost technique, a Johns Hopkins undergraduate has tested tiny samples of four metal alloys to find the best blend for use in platinum jewelry. After evaluating four metal mixtures, student researcher Christopher Kovalchick determined that platinum combined with a small amount of chromium in a cold-rolled and heat treatment process displayed the greatest strength.
The finding is important because pure platinum is too soft for use in a durable piece of jewelry. Yet many countries mandate that platinum jewelry must contain at least 95 percent of the precious metal by weight. With just 5 percent left to work with, jewelers are looking for the best platinum blend to produce strong and durable products. The mechanical properties of these alloys, such as hardness and elasticity, can also be altered through heat treatment and cold-rolling techniques.
Phil Sneiderman | EurekAlert!
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