UCLA brings a new magnesium-carbide nanoparticles metal composite and it’s purely brilliant. The press release accompanying the Nature journal paper hails the new composite metal as super-strong but also lightweight, making it the perfect choice for aircraft construction.
The UCLA team involved in the breakthrough discovery believe that a distinctive mark of the new composite metal is its plasticity compared to its weight. This new composite metal may be just the first of many such landmark discoveries to come. Mainly because the technique may be replicated with other materials that could revolutionize industries altogether. Metals could soon be infused with nanoparticles which do not affect their integrity, rather enrich it.
For start, UCLA brings a new magnesium-carbide nanoparticles metal composite. How does this fare on the market? Well, magnesium is typically used in engineering when it comes to materials able to withstand some load. It is lighter than aluminium or titanium. At the same time, magnesium is also stronger than other metals and is has more plasticity. The carbide nanoparticles infusing the metal boost magnesium’s properties.
If you’re looking for an example of carbide nanoparticles being used, think ceramic blades so sought for kitchens. To be able to infuse the magnesium evenly with the nanoparticles, the UCLA research team had to mix them in a magnesium-zinc alloy.
The mix allowed the dispersion of the carbide nanoparticles evenly and without forming lumps as the metal cooled. Following this step, the metal was compressed under high-pressure torsion.
Thus, the new metal composite comprises 86 percent magnesium and 14 percent carbide. And, as stated in the beginning, it’s purely brilliant. After a series of tests were performed, the UCLA research team compared the nano-composite to other similar metals by density.
Their tests and analysis proved that the new metal composite can successfully be called a breakthrough. It is strong, plastic and lightweight at the same time.
According to Xiaochun Li, one of the researchers and professor of engineering and manufacturing with UCLA, nanoparticles are known to boost the properties of light but sturdy metals such as magnesium. The study of the UCLA research team is the first that yielded these results as the alloy was melted, ensuring an even dispersion of the carbide nanoparticles.
The new metal composite could find a number of applications in aircraft manufacturing, vehicle manufacturing or constructions. The price is unclear yet, but the researchers expect it will be scalable at least.
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