Those who work in materials science research recognize that knowing the properties of the materials and the way they are processed can lead to new materials being brought into the marketplace. This is especially important in the development of new metals and alloys.
Less than a year ago, a team led by researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science created a “super-strong yet light structural metal with extremely high specific strength and modulus, or stiffness-to-weight ratio.” It was reported on phys.org:
“the new metal is composed of magnesium infused with a dense and even dispersal of ceramic silicon carbide nanoparticles. It could be used to make lighter airplanes, spacecraft, and cars, helping to improve fuel efficiency, as well as in mobile electronics and biomedical devices….
[Xiaochun Li, the principal investigator on the research said:] With an infusion of physics and materials processing, our method paves a new way to enhance the performance of many different kinds of metals by evenly infusing dense nanoparticles to enhance the performance of metals to meet energy and sustainability challenges in today’s society.”
Just a few months ago, investigators at Rice University discovered a new super-hard metal that is four-times tougher than titanium. The DailyMail reported that “The researchers stumbled across the discovery by chance while working on an existing study and attempting to test a new compound by grinding it up into powder for X-ray purposes…. [This] lab-made metal … is now the hardest known metallic substance that can be used for implants in humans,” according to a new study.
This past spring, Science Alert reported that an international team of researchers developed a new type of metal alloy that could make nuclear reactors safer and more stable in the long term. The new material is stronger and lasts longer than steel — the metal of choice for current nuclear reactors.
These are just a few examples of the many discoveries that are happening around the world. Researchers are engineering new metals and alloys every day — materials that contain novel properties (strength, lightweight, heat resistance, etc.) that enable new products or replace old materials. Metal permeates nearly every aspect of modern life. This makes metal and metal alloys an important focus for material scientists – if the material can be improved upon, the implications for daily living can be immense.
Whether it’s discovering new metals and alloys, or studying materials that have already been created, the material science researcher needs to know the technologies of the trade, and which ones are suited best for a particular application.
Metals and metal alloys tend to be crystalline in structure, and are often studied via elemental analysis. From handheld to bulk analysis, x-ray spectroscopy is widely used to identify emerging materials from R&D to process monitoring. Optical Emission Spectrometry (OES), X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) instruments are used daily in analytical laboratories servicing metallurgy applications. In further processing, alloy extrudates often receive a hard finish using powder coatings that are typically applied electro-statically and cured under heat to form a “skin.“ X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy can help investigate the variation in the surface oxidation state of copper and other metals that could account for different performances of different batches.
Through rheology, analysts can understand differences involved in metal injection molding and metal powders. What is the difference between rheometers and viscometers? Both are designed to accurately measure the properties of fluids and other complex materials. And when it comes to material characterization instruments, what’s the difference between rotational rheometers and extensional rheometers, and between falling ball viscometers and rotational viscometers?
We have created a place where you can find answers to these questions. Now’s there one online site that provides the information you need to understand the technologies that will help you discover the structure, know the properties, and then help you explore ways to process them until you have a material that performs the way you want. Our new Materials Science Research section on our website covers technology and instruments pertaining to surface analysis, SEM/EDS and WDS, Raman spectroscopy, XPS, NMR, NIR, ICP-MS, rheology and compounding, and materials for research.
We feature eight specific categories on the site: nanomaterials, metal and metal alloys, biomaterials, polymers, electronics and photonics, ceramics and glass, composites, and energy-related materials. Look through the Metal and Metal Alloy Analysis section and you’ll find tools like webinars, videos, application notes, and instrument specifications. In fact, our Materials Science Research Resource Library contains about 200 items.
Best of all, it’s all free. No subscriptions. No sign-ups. Just visit the site and explore the pages. We’re trying to make your jobs easier, because you’re trying to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer.
You can access the Materials Science Research site here. Explore the pages now and comment below as to what you think or if you would like to see additional materials. We will continue to add materials so feel free to bookmark the page and visit often.