Quicker, more precise way to find metallic glasses

Credit: Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science
For a wide range of purposes, metallic glasses are being created. This relatively new material is stronger and more durable than any of the best metals but has the flexibility and flexibility of plastic.

Finding the right elements to create metallic glasses is a tedious task. Jan Schroers, professor in mechanical engineering & material science, devised a method to drastically reduce the time it takes. Nature Materials published their results.

Metal glasses are due to their unique atomic structure. When metallic glasses cool to solidity, their atoms settle in a random order and don't crystallize like traditional metals. The glass-forming ability (GFA), which is the ease with which a metal or an alloy can be made into glass, is complex and not well understood. It has been computationally difficult and experimentally complex to determine the GFA of a particular material. The ideal combination of properties can only be found in a handful of alloys. Metallic glass is therefore limited to very specific applications. It is necessary to characterize a wider range of alloys in order to unlock their potential.

Researchers have devised a method to take much of the trial-and-error and time out of the process. They discovered that X-rays can be used to determine how easily an alloy can become glass. They processed approximately 5,700 Xray diffraction patterns taken from 12 alloy systems to complete the study. This was an unprecedented amount of data in both quantity and quality.

Schroers stated that "we can extract information about glass from an Xray diffraction pattern which is very easy measure." In the past, it was difficult to determine whether a material was a glass. The width of the first peak can be used to distinguish between glasses. This width shows how easy it is for a glass to be formed.

This means that it will take less time to find new metallic glasses. It is difficult to determine whether a particular material makes a better glass than another using conventional methods.

He said, "Now you can do one Xray diffraction and you will know how good the glasses are." There are many different types of crystals. We can identify each one and give details about its characteristics. Now we can distinguish between glasses. Although not crystals, the spectrum can be used to draw conclusions about glass' ability to form. This allows us to easily identify a property's structural signature.

Continue exploring. Researchers improve metallic glass by adding strain

Ming-Xing Li et. al., Data-driven discovery and validation of a universal indicator for the ability to form metallic glass, Nature Materials (2021). Information from Nature Materials MingXing Li et. al., Data-driven Discovery of a Universal Indicator for Metallic Glass Forming Ability, (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41563-021-01129-6

Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science.