Latest metals for the future

Machines that change color button, metals, becoming stronger in the process of operation, the building, which accumulate energy from the wind … Studies of structural materials that are not only functional, but also adaptive, such fantasies closer to reality.

Professor Christopher Hutchinson from Monash University (Australia), dreams of a future in which the materials of construction will be a truly multi-functional. According to the scientist, instead of creating the material and hope that its structure and properties do not evolve too much during the lifetime, it is necessary to recognize the inevitable evolutionary changes and do not fight them, do not avoid them, but from the very beginning to develop future material so that evolution proceeded in the direction of improving its properties.

EXAMPLE functional structural material: silica particles in an aluminum alloy (micrograph Monash University).

Creating such materials today Mr. Hutchinson manipulates atoms steel and other alloys that make them not only resistant to the stress which causes a gradual degradation of conventional materials, but also for its influence evolving upward performance. Manipulation of individual atoms are held by an electron microscope, and the observation of the changes taking place at the time of applying loads of microstructural changes are carried out with the involvement of analytical instruments installed in the synchrotron centers in Australia and France.

If bit dream, in practice the use of such materials, for example for the production of an aircraft wing, instead of the expected result of fatigue from constant vibrations to its hardening, and therefore much more secure long term use.

Another interesting and equally important aspect of the research activities of the group, Mr. Hutchinson is the development of functional alloys capable of, for example, to effectively repel water without expensive special treatment. This would avoid the many problems that are associated with the possible icing of the wing, characteristic of the cold countries (in fact, an example is not the most sensible, as aircraft wings painted, and make the paint more water repellency is much easier than trying to make a similar property of the already overburdened responsibility constructional material). Machines could vary its color by changing the nature of the reflection of light from the cowling. Ship hulls could have antimicrobial properties, avoiding fouling and improving transport efficiency …

The future of materials that combine the functional and structural properties, said Professor.



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