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Alloy

A metal unlike any other

Alloy overview
Amorphous alloys

Metal alloys have almost always shared the common thread of having a crystalline microstructure, which is both an advantage and disadvantage when it comes to processing and mechanical properties. Bulk metallic glasses (amorphous alloys) provide an alternative at the most basic level, with a random atomic microstructure. Both crystalline and amorphous alloys are amorphous in the molten state, but as amorphous alloys cool they do not undergo a phase transformation from liquid-like to crystalline. This results in a lack of crystals, columnar grains, or grain boundaries.

Technology evolution

Early amorphous metals could only be manufactured in very thin ribbons, using a sputtering method to achieve the massive cooling rates required to defeat normal crystallization that occurs when metal changes from a liquid to a solid. R&D efforts began at NASA and Caltech, continuing on through hundreds of universities – as well as Liquidmetal Technologies itself.

An established, powerful alternative

Amorphous alloys bring a new level of capabilities to material science and manufacturing. Crystalline alloys can often achieve a specific property like strength or hardness through post-processing. As-molded amorphous metals are a single-step solution, providing a series of physical properties unmatched in total by any crystalline metal.

Amorphous metals

RANDOM ATOMIC STRUCTURE

As amorphous metals cool, a lack of phase transformation maintains a liquid-like microstructure in the hardened metal. Because of this, little to no shrinkage occurs during the metal forming process, resulting in the alloy mimicking the mold cavity to levels of precision comparable to CNC machining. This means what you design into the mold is what you get, no post-molding processes required to achieve final part geometries. Along with a unique set of material properties, including unmatched strength to weight and elasticity, amorphous alloys is in a league of its own.

Traditional metals

CRYSTALLINE STRUCTURE

Every day you and I interact with dozens of crystalline materials, shaping the world we live in -from building infrastructure to the cars we drive. These materials can be formed using many different processes, some are offered by Liquidmetal as a manufacturing solution to customers. Grain boundaries in the material result in behaviors we are all familiar with, such as denting, bending or scratching. While these physical properties are not necessarily a negative, it does make a crystalline alloy fundamentally different from amorphous alloys.

So, just howstronghardelasticdenseare amorphous alloys?
0
Yield Strength
MPa
6.57
Density
g/cm³
0
Hardness
Rockwell C
1.80
Elasticity
(% of original shape)
Next up: Amorphous metal forming
Learn about the only large-scale production molding process available for amorphous alloys by clicking here.

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