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Any news on metallic glass?


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As a big kid some decade and a half ago I stumbled across an old article from the sixties on metallic glass. It explained how tiny pellets of gold and i think zircon were shot onto a very cold surface, thus forming small metallic discs with no crystal structure - in other words a metallic glass. These were apparently much tougher than conventional alloys but still very flexible and without the ability to develop metality, since you can't distort the structure in a material that doesn't have any structure.


Cool, I thought, cant wait to get my hands on this stuff! Now, several years later, I'm just wondering what happened to metallic glass as a concept. It apparently still isn't used in any everyday products, nor in the air- or space industry...


So, my question is what happened to metallic glass? Does anybody here have any inside knowledge about development or useage of this marvelous stuff? Is it likely that I'll be able to stir my coffee with a metallic glass spoon anytime soon? Does anybody know how one gets his dirty hands on a piece of forementioned material?


Cheers, Michael

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I have a neat demo kit from the University of Wisconsin (IIRC) which demonstrates what they call "liquid metal". It is, in fact, an alloy with a sufficient number of metals with sufficiently different atomic radii which, when supercooled, yields a product which is distincty non-crystalline. It is...amorphous.


The demo consists of two polycarbonate tubes with stainless steel inserts/weights at one end (the bottom). Affixed to one of these inserts is a this (maybe 3mm) thick disk of the amorphous alloy. When a steel bearing is dropped into the tube from some distance, it bounces off of the steel insert several times and comes to rest. When the identical bearing is dropped onto the "liquid metal" it will continue to bounce for a minute or more.


In a crystalline solid, there are cleavage planes which will slide (thus dispersing some of the incident kinetic energy at heat). These are sometimes called slip-planes. In the amorphous material, these slip-planes do not exist, so much less of the energy is dispersed.


It is apparently also very tough. Some alloys cannot be cut with shears despite bearing a thickness similar to Al° foil.


Check out:





Cool stuff!





Edited by Ozone
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