UCLA engineers create super-strong, lightweight metal

Engineers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) are hopeful that a super-strong, lightweight material created by them will revolutionize the automotive and airline industries.

The team created the new metal by using a blend of ceramic silicon carbide nanoparticles and magnesium. The new metal’s stiffness-to-weight ratio far exceeds those of other strong metals that have been in used by engineers for manufacturing airplanes, spacecraft and cars for generations.

Nanoparticles can be described as very tiny speck of any material, merely 1 to 100 nanometers in size. A material’s physical and chemical properties change whenever it is scaled down to such a tiny size. In this case, the engineers infused silicon carbide nanoparticles into molten magnesium zinc. It may be noted here that Silicon carbide is the rigid ceramic material that is used for cutting blades.

The new super-strong “nanocomposite” metal, which can effectively absorb and withstand high levels of heat without having its integrity altered, contains nearly 86 percent magnesium and 14 per cent silicon carbide by weight.

Xiaochun Li, a professor of engineering at UCLA, said, “It’s been proposed that nanoparticles could really enhance the strength of metals without damaging their plasticity, especially light metals like magnesium. But no groups have been able to disperse ceramic nanoparticles in molten metals until now.”

Announcing the super-strong new metal, Li added that it would be easy to produce the new metal for the automotive and airline industries without damaging the environment as magnesium is available in large quantities.

According to a report from the BABW news, The discovery of a new composite material could forever change the way we build airplanes, automoiles, and even spacecrafts.A team of researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles have made a stunning discovery. According to a report from UPI, scientists have discovered a new combination of magnesium and ceramic silicon carbide nanoparticles that could forever change how we build vehicles like airplanes, cars, and even spaceships.

The metal is extremely strong, but is also lightweight. Researchers were particularly excited about the strength-to-weight ratio, which surpasses previous attempts at making a similar super material.

The TheMonitorDaily notes that, For start, UCLA brings a new magnesium-carbide nanoparticles metal composite. How does this fare on the market? Well, magnesium is typically used in engineering when it comes to materials able to withstand some load. It is lighter than aluminium or titanium. At the same time, magnesium is also stronger than other metals and is has more plasticity. The carbide nanoparticles infusing the metal boost magnesium’s properties.

If you’re looking for an example of carbide nanoparticles being used, think ceramic blades so sought for kitchens. To be able to infuse the magnesium evenly with the nanoparticles, the UCLA research team had to mix them in a magnesium-zinc alloy.

In other news TechAeris reported, Scientists have developed a new super strong structural metal that could be used to make more fuel-efficient cars, aircraft and other transportation vehicles. The new metal has a very high stiffness to weight ratio and is made up of magnesium infused with ceramic silicon carbide nanoparticles. Not only could this metal be used in making lighter transportation vehicles, which would increase fuel-efficiency, but it could also be used in mobile devices and other consumer electronics and goods. These scientists discovered a new method to disperse and stabilise nanoparticles in molten metals which could lead to even more lighter metals than their new discovery.