University of California San Diego researchers have a made new steel that has nearly three times the elastic limit of tungsten carbide. Tungsten carbide (a high-strength ceramic used in military armor) has an elastic limit of 4.5 giga-Pascals while SAM2X5-630 has a 12.5 gigapascal limit.

The new steel compound could be utilized as a part of an extensive variety of uses, from boring apparatus, to body protective layer for troopers, to meteor-safe housings for satellites.

99459_web.jpgMetallic glass steel properties can be altered for high quality applications.
SAM2X5-630 has the highest recorded elastic limit for any steel alloy, according to the researchers—essentially the highest threshold at which the material can withstand an impact without deforming permanently. The alloy can withstand pressure and stress of up to 12.5 giga-Pascals or about 125,000 atmospheres without undergoing permanent deformations.

Researchers at USC tested how the alloy responds to shock without undergoing permanent deformations by hitting samples of the material with copper plates fired from a gas gun at 500 to 1300 meters per second. The material did deform on impact, but not permanently.

The Hugoniot Elastic Limit (the maximum shock a material can take without irreversibly deforming) of a 1.5-1.8 mm-thick piece of SAM2X5-630 was measured at 11.76 ± 1.26 giga-Pascals.

Stainless steel has an elastic limit of 0.2 giga-Pascals. Diamonds top out at a whopping 60 giga-Pascals— they’re just not practical for many real-world applications.

According to Eliasson

“The fact that the new materials performed so well under shock loading was very encouraging and should lead to plenty of future research opportunities.”

The essential center of future examination endeavors on these compounds is expanding the heaviness of the materials to make them more impervious to sways..

To make the solid materials that comprise the alloy, Graeve and her team mixed metal powders in a graphite mold. The powders were then pressurized at 100 mega-Pascals, or 1000 atmospheres, and exposed to a powerful current of 10,000 Ampers at 1165°F (630°C) during a process called spark plasma sintering.

The spark plasma sintering technique allows for enormous time and energy savings, Graeve said

“You can produce materials that normally take hours in an industrial setting in just a few minutes.”

The process created small crystalline regions that are only a few nanometers in size, with hints of structure, which researchers believe are key to the material’s ability to withstand stress. This finding is promising because it shows that the properties of these types of metallic glasses can be fine-tuned to overcome shortcomings such as brittleness, which have prevented them from becoming commercially applicable on a large-scale, Eliasson said.

All in all, undefined steels, the high-strain rate mechanical reaction of which was until now unexplored, exhibit high quality under stun wave pressure, the greatness of the versatile furthest reaches of one indistinct steel composite being 1.5 times those reported already for nebulous metals. Further, a minor expansion of nanocrystallinity to the formless grid of the iron-based BMG concentrated on in this work results in a critical change in yield quality and post-yield shear quality maintenance, as found in the reaction of the mostly crystalline SAM2X5-630 when contrasted and that of the X-beam undefined SAM2X5-600.




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