Rapidly Testing Metallic Glasses
Bulk metallic glasses are curious materials that can possess great strength while being very durable and can take on shapes typical metals cannot. Finding metallic glasses is a long process though as it involves creating and testing each one. Researchers at Yale University however have combined two techniques that can dramatically speed up this process from one material a day to almost 3000.
Bulk metallic glasses are special alloys, often made of three or more elements that have been heated and cooled in such a way as to cause their molecular structures to be disordered. This results in the material having special properties that can be very valuable. Only being able to find one a day though limits their potential though, but with parallel blow forming and combinatorial sputtering, that should change. Parallel blow forming is a process that creates bubbles in alloys, which can be used to measure pliability while combinatorial sputtering though is a way to produce thousands of alloys all at once. Together the researchers are able test thousands of alloys at once, immensely speeding up the process.
With traditional methods, it is estimated that testing all 20 million possible bulk metallic glasses would take 4000 years, but with this method the work could be completed in just four. Those metallic glasses already discovered are used in sporting goods like watches and golf clubs, but metallic glasses could have applications in biomedical technologies, such as implants, as well as consumer electronics.
Source: Yale University