Johns Hopkins Investigates Metallic Glass

Superior strength, elasticity, and magnetic properties are some of the benefits that metallic glasses can offer, says researcher Todd Hufnagel, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Named for a noncrystalline structure shared with conventional glass, this amorphous form of metal is formed by very rapid cooling from the molten state. The crystals simply don't have time to form. Hufnagel, whose work is funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Army Research Office, has set up a lab at Hopkins to test new alloys. His goal is a metallic glass that will remain solid and not crystallize at high temperatures, thus making it useful for engine parts. To make that possible Hufnagel is hoping to advance the understanding of how crystallization occurs -- "then, presumably, you can design to avoid it," he adds.

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