Size limit is perhaps one of the most commonly asked questions about the commercial fabrication of Liquidmetal alloys. “How big can we make it?” If you are familiar with typical commercially molded parts from Liquidmetal alloy you may have already observed a common theme; parts a few inches in any dimension and typically thin walled sections. The questions about size typically arise when engineers and designers become aware of the mechanical properties of Liquidmetal alloys: twice the strength of steel, high hardness, corrosion resistance, lustrous as-molded finishes, and high elasticity, among others. It’s not surprising that alloys with similar mechanical properties would be desired for high-performance structural applications such as aircraft bodies, I-beams, bridges, and car bodies. This post aims to help consumers understand the uses and clarify a few limitations of Liquidmetal alloys.
Michael Ashby, a professor from Cambridge, England, has developed strategy for the selection of particular materials for a specific application, a process called Materials Selection for Mechanical Design. In this method, all material properties are plotted against one another on axes displaying different mechanical properties (strength vs. toughness or cost vs. density, for example).