So Los Alamos is claiming a bulk metallic Zr glass that has higher
thermal stability than other metallic glasses.
If this high-pressure method proves difficult for industrial
manufacturing, will the very unique performance properties justify it?
If pure Zirconium can do this, can anything else show similar promise?
Could it be possible to make pure Ti into a bulk metallic glass? Since
that's one metal that's always touted for its strength relative to its
mass, I'd wondered if a glassy form would be even stronger.
READ the article.
"...but by squeezing the metal with roughly the same pressure
needed to make diamonds, scientists at the University of
California's Los Alamos National Laboratory made a pure glass
that may prove nearly as valuable as real diamonds.
The pure metallic glass formed by their high-pressure method
holds promise for stronger, more stable materials for medical,
sports and electronic products."
Would you pay $5000/carat for a tennis racket? Do you think any
commercial bulk process will run at 735,000 psi to produce
anything substantially cheaper? An HPHT diamond press runs $1-2
million out of the crate.
"Zhao and Zhang have tried to duplicate their experiments with
commercial-grade zirconium, but found that higher temperatures
and pressures were needed to make the glass, and it didn't retain
its characteristics when pressures and temperatures returned to
Bingo. "More studies are needed." The emperor is naked.
Nobody is doing anything at Los Alamos until they find the two
missing ZIP drives. Uncle Al would be ordering colonoscopes
Well, if it's feasible to make industrial diamonds this way by
squeezing them, then why can't it be practical to do it for glassy
zirconium? Sure, it's expensive now, but aerospace applications might
justify that cost, if there was no other material that could do the
job. If you're sending a space probe to another planet, perhaps
spending top-dollar would be worth it. Eventually, costs could be
The fact that high purity is required right now may not preclude the
adaptation of this technique for industrial grade Zr.
But there are much cheaper processes out there for produing metallic
glasses and with refinement the size of pieces that can be produced is
increasing. This process is expensive in both processing and raw