Posting in Energy
It's stronger than steel, but the new material can be molded into any shape.
Researchers at Yale University have created a number of nifty shapes out of a new type of metal: metallic bottles, biomedical implants and watch cases.
The trick? The scientists have figured out a way to blow metal alloys into any shape, in the same way they'd mold plastic objects.
Normally metals are stuck in a crystalline structure, which makes manufacturing them quite tricky. But not in this case.
The scientists have figured out how to get this new type of material to be as twice as strong as steel. Want another bragging point for the scientists? It only takes a minute to blow the metal into a desired shape.
The scientists used a class of metals called bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), which is made of up different metals including zirconium, nickel, titanium and copper. It can be molded in low temperatures and low pressures, making the material cheaper and easier to produce. While the cost of the material is as much as steel, fabricating the material is cheaper because the blow molding technique eliminates the energy draining process involved in normal metal fabrication.
Yale materials scientist Jan Schroers said in a statement:
This could enable a whole new paradigm for shaping metals. The superior properties of BMGs relative to plastics and typical metals, combined with the ease, economy and precision of blow molding, have the potential to impact society just as much as the development of synthetic plastics and their associated processing methods have in the last century.
The researchers are using the new material to create tiny resonators for mircoelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and gyroscopes. However, to satisfy our high tech appetite, it's not surprising that companies like Apple are interested in these new types of metal to stay ahead of competitors.
Who can blame Apple for wanting to buy the patents for liquid metal? After all, advertising that the next amazing gadget is made out of liquid metal...is pretty sexy. Right?
Related on SmartPlanet:
- New metallic glass is stronger and tougher than steel
- Nanolasers grown on silicon, next generation of computers and sensors
- Graphene, Graphene, Graphene. Read all about it.
- Here’s a multi-billion dollar question:Can graphene replace silicon?
- As antibacterial paper, graphene could lead to smarter bandages, food containers, shoes
- Lab creations: A plastic that acts like a metal
- New way of printing nanostructures makes desktop fabrication possible
Mar 1, 2011
The article DID say the cost was about the same as steel! Obviously, the amount of platinum is NOT major, hence the cost is lower! Think about the cost of gold, since it is used in your computer. You wouldn't purchase a $100,00+ laptop, even if a 'golden' computer would work, so why quibble about the use of a small, but necessary, bit?
Sounds like a brilliant idea - any references as to how this 'new' metal/plastic will recycle...always keep the environment in mind when doing any R&D...seems to take a 'back seat' to often.
If you follow back to the Yale University website (try searching "Golden Kumar") you learn what this article failed to mention; that their preferred Bulk Metallic Glass alloy is based on "Pt". Pt? Hmm...periodic table...darned contractions. Oh! Here! "Platinum". How much is platinum selling for these days? Hmm: 48.86 dollars per gram, as of 5pm today. So that little bottle in his hand would cost more than a good phone. Somehow I don't think this is the solution to recyclable hotel shampoo bottles....
I was harsh on the water article but this one is excellent showing thinking out of the box and introducing people to new ideas or paradigms. Between composite materials and these new metals what we thought was impossible becomes feasible. Dreams can be achieved. Electronics is only one small potential use. It is always great to get people to think about new possibilities.