Sandia researchers developed super-strong metal

Exploring for better and harder materials. Photo: Sandia National Laboratories

Even the strongest metals usually break down when exposed to friction and the tooth of time.

But scientists at Sandia National Laboratories in the US city of Albuquerque have designed what they think is the world's most durable metal using gold and platinum alloys.

"In the end, we managed to develop an alloy that is insensitive to huge amounts of thermal and mechanical stress," says researcher Nicolas Argibay.

Of course, it would not be practical to make platinum and gold alloy plates, but Argibay and his colleagues believe that the material can be extremely practical for use in electronics and other areas.

For example, the metal parts are worn in a smartphone charger when they are plugged in and/or when they are pulled out. The material has been used for hundreds of hours when the effects of wear were tested under intense conditions.

The commonly used process to make diamond-like carbon is an expensive and complicated one, he said, so this could represent yet another application for the metal.

- This is kind of a big discovery that we’re not even sure of the implications of yet, but any time we discover a route to make something near frictionless just form on a metal that is being rubbed may have implications well beyond electrical contacts, Argibay said with a laugh.

Source: Albuquerque Journal