Researchers Create Strong And Lightweight New Metal

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, Dec 26, 2015.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    A team at UCLA has managed to fuse magnesium with silicon carbide to create a new metal that may prove useful in the manufacture of planes to mobile electronics.

    Magnesium, at just two-thirds the density of aluminum, is the lightest structural metal. Silicon carbide is an ultra-hard ceramic commonly used in industrial cutting blades. The researchers’ technique of infusing a large number of silicon carbide particles smaller than 100 nanometers into magnesium added significant strength, stiffness, plasticity and durability under high temperatures.
     
  2. Protoform-X

    Protoform-X [H]ard|Gawd

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    Alright I read the article and it sounds pretty awesome. What's the catch? It sounds damn near perfect?
     
  3. noko

    noko [H]ardness Supreme

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    I wonder how much energy it takes to make a given kilogram. Overall cost to manufacture.

    Cutting/welding/fastening techniques that will work with this new material. Does not sound like welding would work but this was not gone into. Having a super material that cannot easily be put together or fused together easily will make it less useful.

    This whole new approach looks awesome, nano-metals; this is probably tip in the ice-burg. What will happen if you infuse nano-ceramic particles in more dense metals or steel? Would you get UFO strong materials :D. Looks like a quantum leap in structural steels is fast approaching.
     
  4. Derfnofred

    Derfnofred Gawd

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    Just read a bit of the paper: the material is made by starting with 1% concentrated SiC nanoparticles in magnesium, and then heated in a vacuum furnace until enough Mg is evaporated to concentrate SiC to 14%.

    That is a wildly cost-prohibitive process unless you absolutely need that kind of performance. It may be cost-effective in certain applications.

    There's a lot of research into MMC's (Metal Matrix Compounds) where you incorporate insoluble ceramic/carbon/boron particles/fibers into an alloy. This is achieving a much, much higher SiC nanoparticle load (which is really cool unto itself!)
     
  5. Tyler-Durden

    Tyler-Durden 2[H]4U

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    It would take years just to figure out the dynamics of this matrix.

    Yes, but you'd be rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
     
  6. Kueller

    Kueller [H]ardness Supreme

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    Neat, now do it with Titanium...
     
  7. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    They will probably use it to make the phone 2mm thinner, with a thinner/lower capacity battery that needs to be charged more often. Then most the people who buy the phone will stick it in a huge/thick case to protect it, negating any benefit from a thinner phone.
     
  8. malachy

    malachy n00b

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    Transparent aluminum, this is not. :p
     
  9. undermined

    undermined Limp Gawd

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    sapphire is effectively "transparent aluminium" it doesn't need to be "invented", they could work on making it easier and cheaper to make large sheets of it but it is already used for making watch faces and the "glass" on some Leica camera's lcd screens because it is hard to scratch.
     
  10. NeghVar

    NeghVar 2[H]4U

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    up next, almost no weight (from Predator 2)
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Derfnofred

    Derfnofred Gawd

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    Al and Al2O3 aren't remotely the same. We could say the same thing about Ti and TiO2, or many of the transparent transition metal oxides. (And, yes, they are making plenty of Ti metal matrix composites, but bulk density of Mg is lower than Ti, so it depends on the application at hand)

    Sythetic sapphire is most predominately used to make wafers for LEDs/GaN/SiC. Does make nice scratch-resistant surfaces, too, given it's mho 8.5-9 (iirc).
     
  12. Uvaman

    Uvaman Gawd

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    So much reading about new this and that.. crap, not even carbon fiber is common place, and that stuff is old, proven.
     
  13. kreno

    kreno [H]Lite

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    Why wouldn't one want to use graphene?
     
  14. Kueller

    Kueller [H]ardness Supreme

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    Because graphene is C (carbon), and carbon wouldn't survive anywhere near the temps required to vaporize away magnesium?
     
  15. ymer

    ymer Limp Gawd

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    Yea, we all know that the Carbon atom starts losing protons at 1000ºC

    do you even elementary school?
     
  16. Kueller

    Kueller [H]ardness Supreme

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    Alright, I deserved that, lazy and inaccurate on my part.
     
  17. Derfnofred

    Derfnofred Gawd

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    1000 C isn't anywhere near a level to deprotonate a carbon nucleus. That's the stuff of radiochemistry. I think you guys are getting a wee bit confused about all this stuff.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_fibers (scroll down to synthesis)
     
  18. Spewn

    Spewn 2[H]4U

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    No, and in the case of graphene I imagine it's more due to being able to create large enough pieces of the stuff to be useful...though I'll admit I haven't kept up lately. In the case of carbon fiber it's about how hot the resin can get, not the carbon. Interestingly, the resin tends to be able to get as hot in the best of cases as the best magnesium alloys can. Then again this is a new "alloy" and I don't think the article mentioned anything about its glass transition temperature, so maybe it's higher than other magnesium alloys.
     
  19. Derfnofred

    Derfnofred Gawd

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    Sorry, Spewn, I'm not following what you're trying to say. I don't mean that inflammatory, I'm just not tracking where you're going!
     
  20. Spewn

    Spewn 2[H]4U

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    Well that doesn't give me much to go on...but what I'm saying is - carbon fibers are typically deployed inside of a resin-base much like fiberglass. In this case, the resin hits its glass-transition temperature long before the carbon would and(in the best resins available, as far as I know) at about the same temperature as the best magnesium alloys do the same. If this magnesium "alloy"(is it really an alloy? I don't know, it's kinda like an alloy to my neophyte-level of knowledge) has a higher glass transition temperature, then it could be useful in places where carbon fiber isn't regardless of strength.

    As far as graphene is concerned, my understanding was that making graphene wasn't a problem but making something "large" out of graphene was still not something that could easily be done.
     
  21. Derfnofred

    Derfnofred Gawd

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    Ah, okay. There are high-temp Mg alloys that will operate above the temps of any CF-specific resins I know of (there may be some over in the aerospace world that I don't know about!).

    This is an Mg2Zn alloy with SiC nanoparticles embedded, so I'd be likely to call it a metal matrix composite (MMC). Looks like it maintains its yield stress advantage over other Mg alloys through about 200C, where it's surpassed by another Mg alloy (and only slightly above other mainstream Mg alloys). There are a few specialty epoxy resins designed to handle 200 C long term.

    A MgZn MMC and a short-fiber CF composite are probably not going to be designed for the same demand space, as each are going to bring different application spaces.

    Yes, graphene is still made in small quantities, but there are monolithic blocks of graphite (what we normally associate with carbon fiber), such as those used for brake rotors on aircraft and F1 cars (among other race cars). The latter is used for high-temp applications. I.e. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinforced_carbon–carbon