This form of copper, produced by Johns Hopkins engineers, is stronger than the normal type of copper, yet it remains ductile, meaning it can stretch without breaking.
Photo by Will Kirk
Ma, a professor of materials science and engineering, and doctoral student Yinmin Wang examine a sample of a new strong form of copper that their team created in a campus lab.
Photo by Will Kirk
Extreme cold and high heat help optimize the metal’s microstructure
Combining old-fashioned metal-working techniques with modern nanotechnology, engineers at The Johns Hopkins University have produced a form of pure copper metal that is six times stronger than normal, with no significant loss of ductility.
The achievement, reported in the Oct. 31 issue of the journal "Nature," is important because earlier attempts to strengthen a pure metal such as copper have almost always resulted in a material that is much less ductile, meaning it is more likely to fracture when it is stretched. Strength, on the other hand, refers to how much stress a metal can tolerate before its shape is permanently deformed.
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