Sunday, February 26, 2012

New metallic glass beats steel as the toughest, strongest material yet


The development of new materials has always been a need to improve our quality of life. Hence, several researchers working on new materials for the tools and technology that will lead to greater progress.Materials scientists in California have made a special metallic glass with a strength and toughness greater than any known material, using a recipe that could yield a new method for materials fabrication. The glass, a microalloy made of palladium, has a chemical structure that counteracts the inherent brittleness of glass but maintains its strength. It’s not very dense and it is more lightweight than steel, with comparable heft to an aluminum or titanium alloy.

It's true, some tougher materials exist, but they are less strong; there are stronger materials, but they’re not as tough. To grasp this, you have to define the the difference between strength and toughness. Strength refers to how much force a material can take before it deforms. Toughness explains the energy required to fracture or break something; it describes an object’s ability to absorb energy. Most of the time, these qualities are mutually exclusive. Ideal structural materials are both strong and tough; steel is a good example. The new glass has a far better combination of strength and toughness than any steel.

The glass has been obtained and described features, but still very expensive in their manufacture, but the methods to create new materials is a reality that will lead to significant improvements of tools and so further development in the world of science and technology.

Reference
POPSCI. New metal glass beats steel as the thoughest, strongest material yet. Online (http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-01/new-metallic-glass-toughest-strongest-material-yet)

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