This is how it works: The Bremen-based scientists insert hollow glass balls measuring a maximum of 60 micrometers into the metal during casting. "If the glass balls are evenly distributed, we get a smooth surface that feels absolutely smooth – like metal. If the glass content is unevenly distributed, the material gets a distinctive new appearance, full of streaks," says Dr. Jörg Weise of the foundry technology working group in the Shaping and Functional Materials branch of the institute. Although the material is extremely porous, it looks as smooth as metal and weighs only a fraction of the amount: As an example, the density of aluminum is reduced from 2.7 grams per cubic centimeter to only 1.2 grams per cubic centimeter, and that of zinc from seven grams per cubic centimeter to less than half, or only 3.1 grams per cubic centimeter.
"Our material can’t quite float on water yet, but we’re working on it," Weise predicts with a wink. The aluminum composite material has a density similar to that of a polymer, but feels as high-grade as metal and has a high temperature resistance as well. Despite being so light, it can withstand pressures up to 1 000 bar – equivalent to the pressure at a depth of a thousand meters under water. Its special structure enables the light metal to absorb energy in the event of a crash. There are further benefits, too: "Because its pores are so microscopically small, the material can be plated in a similar way to a compact non-porous metal. We are currently carrying out investigations jointly with an industrial partner, HDO Druckguss- and Oberflächentechnik GmbH of Paderborn, on the possibility of chrome-plating zinc containing hollow glass balls," Weise reports. He believes there are potential applications not only in design elements, but also in the lightweight construction industry.
Monika Weiner | alfa
Molecular switch detects metals in the environment
15.08.2018 | Université de Genève
Breakthrough in nanoresearch - Quantum chains in graphene nanoribbons
09.08.2018 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
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...
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....
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...
Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences
15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy