It seems that every day that goes by we are discovering new and cool ways to do, or create, new things.
Such is the case of a discovery by scientists at Yale who have discovered a new material that has the strength of metal but can be formed into complex forms the same way we form stuff made from plastic.
Called bulk metallic glasses (BMG) these amorphous metals could totally revolutionize our society in the way that the development of synthetic plastic did when it was discovered. These BMG’s can replace the previous three steps it took to form complex metal shapes into one single step and be used to create everything from metallic bottles to biomedical implants that are twice as strong as steel and take less than a minute to mold.
Unlike the crystalline structure found in ordinary metals that makes them strong but also results in them requiring three separate steps for processing (shaping, joining and finishing), the metal alloys recently developed by the Yale team are amorphous metals known as bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), whose randomly arranged atoms and low critical cooling rate allows them to be blow-molded into complex shapes like plastics. This allows the researchers to combine the three traditional time- and energy-intensive metal processing steps into one blow molding process that takes less than a minute.
According to Jan Schroers, the Yale material scientist who lead the team this could lead to a whole new paradigm when it comes to shaping metals. At this point Schroers and his team have fabricated things like miniature resonators for microelectricalmechanical (MEMs) using this method, and this is really just the tip of the iceberg as you can see by the image below.
images courtesy of GizMag