New metal alloy has highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal

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A world-wide team of scientists has made a new metal alloy that has a greater strength-to-weight ratio than any other recognised metal material on the planet. The team, from North Carolina State University in the US and Qatar University, joined lithium, magnesium, titanium, aluminium and scandium to make a Nano crystalline alloy that has low density, but tremendously high strength. 

The strength-to-weight ratio - also acknowledged as specific strength - recounts to how long a piece of the material can be to hang its own weight when held up vertically and held only at the top. Strong but light, high specific strength metals such as titanium, aluminium, and magnesium are frequently used in aerospace design, where any rise in weight is a major worry. "The density is equivalent to aluminium, but it is tougher than titanium alloys,” lead scientist and materials science and engineering professor at North Carolina State University, Carl Koch, said in a press announcement. 

A sample of the high-entropy alloy (Photo: North Carolina State University)
"It has a mixture of high strength and low density that is, as far as we can tell, matchless by any other metallic material. The strength-to-weight ratio is as good as to some ceramics, but we think it's stronger - less delicate - than ceramics," says Koch. 

The new material is also a high-entropy alloy - a newly - established class of material that contains equal amounts of five or more types of metals. There has been noteworthy interest in high-entropy alloys of late, and according to a analysis of them earlier this year in the journal Materials Research Letters, their exclusive set of properties mean they can be used as "hydrogen storage materials, radiation resilient materials, diffusion barriers for electronics, precision resistors, electromagnetic shielding materials, soft magnetic materials, thermoelectric materials, and anti-bacterial materials”, to name just a few.

The main difficulty in getting this new alloy to the market place is the point that it’s made of 20% scandium, which is an exceptionally costly material. "We still have a lot of study to do to fully typify this material and explore the best processing methods for it," Koch said. "One thing we'll be looking at is if scandium can be substituted or removed from the alloy."

The results have been printed in the recent edition of Materials Research Letters.


Article Source: ScienceAlert

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