You may have been reading about recent developments in metals technology from a diverse range of sources. Many of the exotic metal alloys being described are actually the same material being referred to by different names. For example, Liquidmetal Alloys, amorphous metal and metallic glass are basically synonyms for the same new class of metals which exhibit a non-crystalline atomic structure.
Metallurgy is an ancient practice which focuses on the development and processing of metal alloys for specific applications. Ancient metallurgists devised bronze and carbon steel alloys for weapons while modern metallurgists developed aircraft-grade aluminum and titanium alloys. Despite centuries of technological advancement, metal alloys have almost always shared the common thread of having a crystalline atomic structure
Now, what if a metal alloy was developed that was not limited by the typical trends exhibited by crystalline metals? Such a metal would have low melting temperature, so it could be cast into net-shapes, yet would retain the high strength and scratch resistance, while simultaneously exhibiting the mid-range density. Early amorphous metals were limited to thin ribbons because of the high cooling rates required to form the non-crystalline structure, Nevertheless, low-cost commercial sheet fabrication of these thin ribbon materials lead to a very successful industry. Amorphous metal ribbons have been wound and used as transformer coils and anti-theft I.D. tags due to their magnetic properties.
What makes Liquidmetal a fundamentally different material than all of its crystalline counterparts are its truly unique combination of processing and mechanical properties. Much like aluminum, magnesium and zinc alloys, Liquidmetal can be readily cast from the liquid into extremely complex, net-shaped (i.e., require little or no post-processing operations) parts. Unlike those alloys however, cast Liquidmetal parts are hard, high strength and can have a lustrous surface finish directly out of the mold.
The applications for Liquidmetal alloys are growing significantly and this first blog post represents our Company’s commitment to advance the Commercial applications of Amorphous Alloys in the Global marketplace.