Researchers have developed a new way to create superhard metals through chemical processing.
Manufacturing methods such as forging, rolling, twisting or bending are commonly used to increase the hardness of a metal. Such manipulations lead to a decrease in the size of the grains of the microscopic structure of the material, due to which they are compressed more densely. Now a team from Brown University has found a way to directly tune these clusters in bulk chunks.
Instead of external physical impact, scientists formed metal by compressing individual nanoparticles into a single crystal. This allows you to achieve uniform grain sizes for tighter fusion..
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However, the problem is that the surface of metals is usually covered with organic molecules called ligands, which interfere with the interaction of individual nanoparticles. Therefore, for dense cluster merging at low pressure the team cleaned them chemically.
The resulting metals were 2-4 times harder than normal. Apart from a significant increase in density, the researchers did not find significant changes in other properties, they found that other properties, such as electrical conductivity and light reflectance, did not differ significantly from the standard values of these metals..
According to scientists, this method can be applied to any metal. It can also be used to make metallic glass from just one component, rather than an alloy..
Since the cleaning process uses a simple chemical treatment and the required pressure is within the operating range of standard industrial equipment, the team expects that soon the technology will find widespread use in production.
Recall that earlier scientists developed a new method of diamond production, which allows the creation of two rare types of ultra-strong material in just a couple of minutes at room temperature.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Brown University