Nearest-to-Net Shape Molding
While many processes claim “net shape,” Liquidmetal® Injection Molding produces precision parts within very close tolerances directly from the mold thanks to the extremely low shrinkage rate of the material when it cools in the amorphous form. Shrinkage rate is published at 0.2% for this alloy which is far less than metal die cast components (>0.6%) and plastic injection molded components. When compared to conventional Metal Injection Molding (MIM) processes, the MIM sintering step typically shrinks the “green state” part by 15-20% which can cause warping and requires secondary machining to meet precision tolerances.
In addition to precision net-shape molding, an as-molded Liquidmetal part typically has a surface roughness of less than 0.05 µm (2 µin). This is a significant benefit compared with other processes that require additional processing to meet a surface spec of this quality. Die cast alloys and MIM components typically have surface roughness values that range from 0.8 – 1.6 µm (32 – 64 µin). Liquidmetal’s atomic structure allows incredibly precise replication of tool surfaces, allowing very fine details, textures or highly polished surfaces to be imparted in a single step during high rate production.
Liquidmetal Alloy is stronger than high-strength titanium, with a yield strength of 1640 MPa (238 KSI). High-strength titanium (Ti-6Al-4V) has a yield strength of 830 Mpa (120 ksi) and an ultimate tensile strength of only 900 Mpa (130 ksi). Like most glasses, the yield strength of Liquidmetal Alloy is nearly identical to its ultimate tensile strength, meaning that when the material is stressed to its yield limit, rather than plastically deforming, it will break, and is therefore technically considered brittle, even though it is highly elastic (see below).
The exceptional strength of Liquidmetal is more remarkable when compared with other metal molding or casting processes. The ultimate tensile strength of die cast materials (zinc, aluminum, and magnesium) does not exceed the 425 Mpa (62 ksi) mark.
Our alloy also has a very high hardness which can prove beneficial for parts that require a durable scratch and wear resistant surface. The hardness value of LM001B is 550 Vickers (52 HRC), which is significantly harder than conventional metal alloys. Die cast alloys can achieve a hardness of 130 Vickers, Titanium (Ti-6Al-4V) can reach 340 Vickers (34 HRC), and Stainless Steel (17-4 PH) can reach 325 Vickers (33 HRC).
While Liquidmetal alloy may be more brittle than some high strength materials, LM001B can undergo 2.0% of elongation before reaching its yield point. This is driven by the material’s Elastic Modulus, which is 93 GPa, and its unique amorphous atomic structure. Other high strength materials tend to be much stiffer, reflecting their higher modulus of elasticity. Only Liquidmetal alloy can provide this unique combination of high strength and elasticity.
LM001B performs very well with no corrosion evident during a salt spray test conforming to ASTM standard B-117 for over 336 hours. This test was performed on an as-molded surface on the part.