Scientists find faster way to create glasses as strong as steel
Researchers at Yale University have developed a dramatically faster method of identifying and characterizing complex alloys known as bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) - a versatile type of pliable glass that's stronger than steel.
The new method allows researchers to screen about 3,000 alloys per day and simultaneously ascertain certain properties, such as melting temperature and malleability.
Already used in watch components, golf clubs, and other sporting goods, BMGs also have likely applications in biomedical technology, such as implants and stents, mobile phones, and other consumer electronics, said Schroers, who is professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science.
He said there are an estimated 20 million possible BMG alloys. About 120,000 metallic glasses have been produced and characterized to date.
The technique combines a process called parallel blow forming with combinatorial sputtering. Blow forming generates bubble gum-like bubbles from the alloys and indicates their pliability. Co-sputtering is used for fabricating thousands of alloys simultaneously; alloy elements are mixed at various controlled ratios, yielding thousands of millimeter size and micron thick samples.
Jan Schroers, senior author of the research, said instead of blowing one bubble on one material, we blow-form 3,000 bubbles on 3,000 different materials.
The study has been published online in the journal Nature Materials.
(Posted on 14-04-2014)