Modern Alchemy – Turning Metal into Glass

Friday, August 14, 2020 - 17:10 in Physics & Chemistry

Basic atomic structure Metals and glass don't seem to have anything in common. Glass is generally transparent and fragile while metals are opaque and extremely strong; but under the right conditions, metals can form glass, and when they do, what results is an opaque, durable, scratch- and corrosion-resistant material that is often stronger than steel. Metallic glass is so versatile it can be used in iPhone cases, the lubricant-free gears of Moon rovers, and electrical transformers. Recently, experiments on the International Space Station that NASA’s Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications (SLPSRA) division funded have revealed aspects of metallic glass formation that could open the door to even greater possibilities.  Current research in the field is focused on determining which metals form the best glass and how that glass can be used. The three most commonly used metals are zirconium, palladium, and iron, in that order, and the big questions in metallic...

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