Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Science Palladium makes glass stronger and tougher than steel

Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology have developed a new type of metallic glass that's stronger and tougher than steel. The new metallic glass is a microalloy featuring phosphorous, silicon, germanium, silver and, the secret ingredient, a rare, silvery-white metal called palladium. Palladium has a high "bulk-to-shear" stiffness ratio, which means the energy needed to form shear bands -- narrow strain zones that ultimately become cracks -- is much lower than the energy required to turn these shear bands into cracks. It gives the flexible material more plasticity, so an impact will cause the new material to bend, unlike brittle glass, which instantly shatters. More>