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Vitreous metal – the material of the future October 17, 2006

Posted by Al in : invention,science , trackback

Glass is a vitreous liquid, that is a liquid that is almost, but not quite, a solid. The reason glass is so clear is because it is vitreous, there are no crystalline forms to distort the passage of light through it – all it’s atoms are joined in an amorphous mass which is why glass will gradually slip and settle over time. If you look at very old window panes you will find a definite bulge at the bottom as the glass has very, very slowly pooled under gravity.

The same amorphous form that gives glass it’s clarity and usefulness is now able to be applied to metals, lead frames and power modules. It is about to produce metals that are 200% to 500% stronger than current metal alloys. Since there are no crystals in these vitreous, or glassy metals, then they don’t tend to shatter on impact. Instead these new wonder metals can absorb impacts, and tensions, that would cause ordinary metals to shatter – instead they just rebound back into their amorphous shape. This will lead to stronger, and/or lighter structures with less chance of suffering fatigue or shattering. Undoubtedly these metals will burst into mass usage in some form of military application, but as prices plummet it won’t be log until they are in use in all types of products, and we should see the benefits in the next decade or two. It’s always nice to be aware of the future as it begins to happen.


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