Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have created a new type of metal that is very strong and light. The metal has an extremely high specific strength and modulus also known as stiffness-to-weight ratio. The researchers created the new metal using magnesium infused with dense and even dispersal of ceramic silicon carbide nanoparticles.
This extremely strong and lightweight metal could be used in the construction of many different items including aircraft, spacecraft, cars, and electronic devices. The metal is very strong yet lightweight and could improve fuel efficiency in vehicles and aircraft.
The team created the metal by discovering a new way to disperse and stabilize nanoparticles in molten metals. The researchers also developed a scalable manufacturing method that could pave the way for new high-performance lightweight metals in the future. The new metal is classified as a structural metal intended to be load bearing.
Silicon carbide is an ultra-hard ceramic that is commonly used in industrial cutting blades. The manufacturing process for the new metal infuses a large number of silicon carbide particles smaller than 100 nanometers into the magnesium adding significant strength, stiffness, plasticity, and durability under high temperatures. The new metal is 14% silicon carbide nanoparticles and 86% magnesium.