Metallic Wonders

Though advanced ceramics, carbon fibers, and other new materials become more prevalent in construction, metals are not about to give up their dominance yet. Here are some fascinating metal materials you may not know about:

Amorphous Metal is basically metal lava or metallic glass. Composed completely of metallic atoms, it is cooled quickly before the atoms can align into a crystal structure. The disordered structure makes the metal amazingly hard, twice as hard as steel alloys of similar mass and volume. The downside is that its hardness also makes it brittle—just like glass.

Superalloys  are iron-based amalgamations containing exotic metals that increase the melting temperature of the alloy. These include cobalt, nickel, aluminum, titanium, niobium, and vanadium. These alloys also contain metal soups or intermetallic compounds such as Ni3(al, Ti) known as γ’. Operating temperatures typically exceed 1000°C. The alloys are commonly used in aerospace as turbine blades, jet engines and other high temperature applications.

Metal Foam sounds like something out of a comic book, but is actually a fairly common material used for packaging, energy absorption, and impact attenuation. Closed-cell foam can float and is more durable than polymer compounds. Open-cell foam can absorb a tremendous amount of energy in an impact. Metal foam is commonly aluminum and is made by injecting a foaming agent in the melt to create a material that is 75-95% air void yet still posses structural properties.

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