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Engineers turns metal into glass: New process solves an age-old conundrum

Date:
August 13, 2014
Source:
University of Pittsburgh
Summary:
Materials scientists have long sought to form glass from pure, monoatomic metals. Now a team of researchers has done it. Metallic glasses are unique in that their structure is not crystalline (as it is in most metals), but rather is disordered, with the atoms randomly arranged. They are sought for various commercial applications because they are very strong and are easily processed.

Materials scientists have long sought to form glass from pure, monoatomic metals. Scott X. Mao and colleagues did it.

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Their paper, "Formation of Monoatomic Metallic Glasses Through Ultrafast Liquid Quenching," was recently published online in Nature.

Mao, William, Kepler Whiteford Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Pittsburgh, says, "This is a fundamental issue explored by people in this field for a long time, but nobody could solve the problem. People believed that it could be done, and now we're able to show that it is possible."

Metallic glasses are unique in that their structure is not crystalline (as it is in most metals), but rather is disordered, with the atoms randomly arranged. They are sought for various commercial applications because they are very strong and are easily processed.

Mao's novel method of creating metallic glass involved developing and implementing a new technique (a cooling nano-device under in-situ transmission electron microscope) that enabled him and his colleagues to achieve an unprecedentedly high cooling rate that allowed for the transformation of liquefied elemental metals tantalum and vanadium into glass.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Li Zhong, Jiangwei Wang, Hongwei Sheng, Ze Zhang, Scott X. Mao. Formation of monatomic metallic glasses through ultrafast liquid quenching. Nature, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nature13617

Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh. "Engineers turns metal into glass: New process solves an age-old conundrum." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140813103802.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh. (2014, August 13). Engineers turns metal into glass: New process solves an age-old conundrum. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140813103802.htm
University of Pittsburgh. "Engineers turns metal into glass: New process solves an age-old conundrum." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140813103802.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

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