Rutgers researchers have identified a class of high-strength metal alloys that show potential to make springs, sensors and switches smaller and more responsive.
Credit: Physical Review Letters
Nano-sized particles embedded in alloys can make alloys highly elastic and enable them to convert electrical and magnetic energy into movement.
The alloys could be used in springier blood vessel stents, sensitive microphones, powerful loudspeakers, and components that boost the performance of medical imaging equipment, security systems and clean-burning gasoline and diesel engines.
While these nanostructured metal alloys are not new – they are used in turbine blades and other parts demanding strength under extreme conditions – the Rutgers researchers are pioneers at investigating these new properties.
“We have been doing theoretical studies on these materials, and our computer modeling suggests they will be super-responsive,” said Armen Khachaturyan, professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the Rutgers School of Engineering. He and postdoctoral researcher Weifeng Rao believe these materials can be a hundred times more responsive than today’s materials in the same applications.
Writing in the March 11 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters, the researchers describe how this class of metals with embedded nanoparticles can be highly elastic, or “springy,” and can convert electrical and magnetic energy into movement or vice-versa. Materials that exhibit these properties are known among scientists and engineers as “functional” materials.
One class of functional materials generates an electrical voltage when the material is bent or compressed. Conversely, when the material is exposed to an electric field, it will deform. Known as piezoelectric materials, they are used in ultrasound instruments; audio components such as microphones, speakers and even venerable record players; autofocus motors in some camera lenses; spray nozzles in inkjet printer cartridges; and several types of electronic components.
High Resolution VersionIn another class of functional materials, changes in magnetic fields deform the material and vice-versa. These magnetorestrictive materials have been used in naval sonar systems, pumps, precision optical equipment, medical and industrial ultrasonic devices, and vibration and noise control systems.
The materials that Khachaturyan and Rao are investigating are technically known as “decomposed two-phase nanostructured alloys.” They form by cooling metals that were exposed to high temperatures at which the nanosized particles of one crystal structure, or phase, are embedded into another type of phase. The resulting structure makes it possible to deform the metal under an applied stress while allowing the metal to snap back into place when the stress is removed.
These nanostructured alloys might be more effective than traditional metals in applications such blood vessel stents, which have to be flexible but can’t lose their “springiness.” In the piezoelectric and magnetorestrictive components, the alloy’s potential to snap back into shape after deforming – a property known as non-hysteresis – could improve energy efficiency over traditional materials that require energy input to restore their original shapes.
In addition to potentially showing responses far greater than traditional materials, the new materials may be tunable; that is, they may exhibit smaller or larger shape changes and output force based on varying mechanical, electrical or magnetic input and the material processing.
The researchers hope to test the results of their computer simulations on actual metals in the near future.
The Rutgers team collaborated with Manfred Wittig, professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Maryland. Their research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.Media Contact: Carl Blesch
Carl Blesch | EurekAlert!
New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries
22.03.2017 | Yale University
Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold
22.03.2017 | Rice University
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
24.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
24.03.2017 | Earth Sciences