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Liquid metals

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:14 am
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Liquid metals 
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Post Liquid metals   Posted on: Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:14 am
An article under www.wissenschaft.de is reporting today that there are new developed metals which combine the properties of plastics and lquids.

They are made of metals like Zirkonium, Titan, Nickel, Copper and Beryllium.

According to the article they have improved properties compared to earlier developed liquid metals - they are as firm as those earlier ones but three times as elastice as them.

They return to their orginal shape even after extreme mecahnical stresses. Furthermore they have a low melting point and are very resistable to corrosion.

What do they mean for concrete vehicles, reentry and reusability?

Their low melting point seems to mean that damages are expected during reentry which disappear again later - is a larger surface a solution over which the heat can be distributed?

Do they reduce the danger of damage by a hard landing? Do they increase the safety in case of impacts by debris, very small asteroids and the like?

What else is thinkable?



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:29 am
The Liquidmetal trademark is misleading, they are developing non-crystalline or amorphous metal alloys. The advantages are very high strength, (over 2GPa) and hardness, the ability to be formed in the same ways plastics are which allows complex high strength parts to be mass-produced. Something which was never really previously possible with the possible exception of composite pressure vessels. IIRC the materials exhibit unusually low specific modulus (which is very beneficial in some applications). Possibly useful magnetic properties.

The disadvantages are potentially (and currently) difficult processing, it's still work in progress. Limited (or non-existent) permanent elongation (they usually behave in a glassy fashion and are also known as glassy metals). Unless something has changed recently glassy metals seem unlikely to survive melting and freezing unharmed without very controlled conditions. The low melting point rules it out in a surprisingly large number of rocketry related roles, it also seems likely to be a very bad conductor (for a metal). It is quite likely to be relatively immune to neutron damage, it's a real pity about the m.p. The corrosion resistance probably recommends a thousand and one uses. Gears are another important application, here lower modulus (if it has that) helps by allowing greater contact area.

They would make excellent++ armour against Earthly threats (if you're building lots of T101's its the kind of thing you might use) More questionable against extremely high speed fragments, but falls should be handled quite well up until when it shatters. Surviving collisions with small asteroids is never going to be easy :wink:


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:40 am
The article seems to be reporting devlopments and breakthroughs achieved recently. It explicitly says that NASA is enthusiastic about the metals according to a press release.They are said to call the metals announcing a metallic revolution ("metallische Revolution" - set it quotes in the german article)

I didn't take the term "Liquidmetall" literally but only used it to quote the article most precisely while translating it indirectly.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 29, 2005 10:03 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
I didn't take the term "Liquidmetall" literally but only used it to quote the article most precisely while translating it indirectly.

Apologies, my mistake.

BTW Liquidmetal is a NASA spin-off so it's self-promotion in a way, AFAIK nothing in the article itself seems very new.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 29, 2005 3:34 pm
Quite true; I just attended a seminar on these (Yes, I know: I'm a freshman, I'm not supposed to go to seminars; it's a really long story), and I learned 1) that they've been around for several decades, and 2) that they behave disturbingly like glass. Installing shattering armorplate on your new tank is not a very brilliant idea.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:15 pm
It might make for a good coating on a large rocket like sea dragon once the brittle nature has been dealt with. An outer ice-barrier to break away might actually be good. This Friday we see an oceanographic vessel floating end up like SD.

I think the brittleness can be countered by adding just a bit of impurity in--like filaments added to concrete.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 03, 2005 4:07 am
You'd have to talk to an MSE for that; I know nothing about materials science and engineering.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Nov 04, 2005 6:47 pm
Liquid metals: http://www.spacedaily.com/news/materials-05zz.html

Misc:
Asteroid Threat: http://www.space.com/news/051103_asteroid_apophis.html


New Solar cell: http://www.spacedaily.com/news/solarcell-05k.html
Solar Antenna: http://www.spacedaily.com/news/satellite-tech-05j.html


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