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Researchers develop technique for enhanced reversibility of a phase-transforming material

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Posted October 4, 2013
A team of researchers at Minnesota State University has created a martensitic metal alloy that degrades very little after application of more than 16,000 thermal cycles. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team describes how they applied mathematical theory to a zinc-gold-copper alloy and found it markedly improved the alloy’s ability to withstand degradation due to multiple heating-cooling cycles.
Researchers develop technique for enhanced reversibility of a phase-transforming material
Various hierarchical microstructures in Au30, the alloy most closely satisfying the cofactor conditions for both type I and type II twin systems. Credit: Nature 502, 85–88 (03 October 2013) doi:10.1038/nature12532
 

Metals that return to a previous physical shape after being changed (bent, crumpled, etc.) using certain techniques are called a martensitic metals—typically they are created by mixing two or more metals together to create an alloy and then applying heat to cause the metal to revert back to a desired state after being deformed. Scientists have been working steadily for many years to create different metal alloysfor different purposes—martensitic metals in particular are highly prized because they can be put to special purposes such as in creating stents for medical purposes. But martensitic metals have one major drawback, they can only be disfigured and reversed a few times before they start to degrade, making them unsuitable for further use. In this new effort, the research team in Minnesota has found a way to create one alloy that is able to withstand thousands of heating-cooling cycles without losing its reversibility attributes.

Their success the team explains, came about as a result of applying known mathematical theories related to stress properties of metals. Martensitic metals degrade because of changes to a transition layer between the different phases. Working the formulas, they report allowed them to eliminate this layer, effectively removing the part of the alloy that allowed for degradation.

Read more at: Phys.org

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