Aero planes’ wings, golf clubs and parts of engines were thought to be made of glass alloys; now the time has come to see it practically as the research has been almost completed on chaotic structure of glass.
The researchers working at Bristol University, Australian National University and the University of Tokyo have reached the fact that what happens to the atoms in glass when they cool down from their molten state. Their research results and findings were published in the latest edition of Nature Materials which increased the factual information about meta-stable materials.
For a number of decades, scientists thought that when glass changes it’s from molten to cold state, it jammed and forms irregular structure whereas the atoms present in metal forms a regular, crystal and lattice structure.
Complete and final information has not been revealed about this changing of structure because it is quite impossible to see atoms when they cool down. Scientists used special particles named colloids that mimic atoms and which could only be seen through the state-of-the-art microscopic equipment. When these colloids were cooled down they formed get which later on formed a crystal; but in a metal stable form somewhat between liquid and crystal structure. Researchers believed that atoms are jammed by the formation of icosahedra-like thing.
Paddy Royall working at the University of Bristol stated.
“Some materials crystallize as they cool, arranging their atoms into a highly regular pattern called a lattice,”
He also said that.
“But although glass ‘wants’ to be a crystal, as it cools the atoms become jammed in a nearly random arrangement, preventing it from forming a regular lattice.”
The jammed random constitution of the atoms in a glass is the only thing which makes it strong but little flexible. Metals form the regular crystal lattice shape. This characteristic makes it to bend and twist easily but lessens its strength and prone to metal failure.
A metallic glass alloy can be formed by combining the two metals having both characteristics of strength and flexibility.
Rob O’Donnell who is a senior materials scientist at CSIRO says that this research has introduced a new way that how can a state of liquid glassy can be turned into a crystalline state and then alloys can be formed by them.
“At the moment quasi-crystals are more of an anomaly. People see the quasi-crystals but don’t actually make an entire quasi-crystalline material,”
He further said.
“But if you knew how to do that, then it may enable you to make them more easily.”
He said that metallic glasses are best for that kind of products which are needed to be strong, light in weight and having flexibility to some extent; the flexibility which bents the product but don’t let it break.
Glassy metals may have more strength and improved corrosion resistance as compared to normal crystalline metal which could be used in the manufacturing of light-weighted and stiffer components. This was stated by O’ Donnell.
He also said,
“This research has helped identify the mechanism which will allow these metals to be able to make more easily.”