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 Novel sensors could enable smarter textiles
17.08.2018 | University of Delaware

nachricht Quantum material is promising 'ion conductor' for research, new technologies
17.08.2018 | Purdue 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: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>