We just love bringing you the latest news in the scientific and engineering world and this blog is certainly no exception!
How much do you know about metal?
It’s hard, certainly. It conducts electricity, definitely. It behaves like glass.
Yes, recently scientists at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia have created a guide to developing new metallic glass alloys. As far as excitement goes, we’re jumping in our seats here. The metal alloys being created are 3x stronger than your average metal yet, once heated up, they become as malleable as clay, as soft as chewing gum, capable of twisting and changing shape. All in all, ladies and gentlemen, we’re presenting you with shape-shifting metal!
How Is Shape Shifting Metal Possible?
It sounds like something you’d find in the pages of a sci-fi novel, or on the big screen in the form of the Terminator assassins, but truly, the process in which these new metallic-glass alloys can change their shape is all down to their make-up.
As Europe’s leading spring manufacturers, we know how metal works. The allows in your every day metal are arranged in a regular, uniformed structure. This gives them their hard, unrelenting properties we’re able to use to our own picky preferences.
The metallic-glass allows, however, have a highly irregular alloy structure. This has allowed them to remain strong and unmovable when solid, but when heated the alloys slip out of place, thus allowing the metallic-glass to morph its shape.
What Does This Mean For Us?
With the help of the UNSW’s metal making guide, scientists have been able to “successfully predicted over 200 new metal-glass alloys” according to their science department. Once the keen scientists at the university understand the “atomic fundamentals” behind the metals amazing properties, they “will also be able to engineer, these materials on an atomic scale so they have the specific properties we want.” says Dr Kevin Laws of the UNSW.
They have been described as the most significant development in materials science since the discovery of plastics more than 50 years ago, says Dr Laws to the UNSW article.
With the new creation of stronger, more flexible metallic-glass alloys, comes a possibility for greater uses. Batteries, for instance, and space craft parts could also be in the running.
Why Wait? Why Not Get Straight To It?
At the moment, metallic-glass alloys are very expensive to manufacture so their use has been limited to iPhone parts, golf clubs and springs in certain watches. With further development, however, the price might reduce enough for their true potential to be reached.
Can you imagine bullet proof, shape-shifting vests?
We’re still a long way off of creating shape-shifting robots, but with the dramatic advances in science, it’s proving that the sky really isn’t the limit.
Though we don’t deal in shape-shifting springs, we do supply the best quality springs in Europe. If you’d like to know more about what kinds of springs we manufacture, contact us today on 0208 663 1800.