New steel alloy breaks records in hardness and resilience

Iron and its derivative - steel - for a long time were the backbone of the world industrial industry. However, over time, heavy and bulky steel gradually began to be replaced by lighter, but at the same time more brittle alloys and composite materials. Now scientists have succeeded in creating a new steel alloy, which is cheap to manufacture, at the same time not brittle and as hard as possible.

A new amorphous metal SAM2X-630 was created jointly by scientists from the University of California at San Diego and the California Institute of Technology. It is a multi-material amalgam, a new version of steel that is incredibly resistant to impact, bending and tearing under high mechanical stress.

In numbers, this means: the alloy can withstand a pressure of 12.5 GPa or 125, 000 atmospheres without deformation. During the tests, it was bombarded with 34 mm copper plates at a speed of 500 to 1300 m / s. After the first shot, the alloy was slightly deformed, but then immediately repaired the damaged surface.

When creating the SAM2X-630 alloy, glass-metal matrix composites mixed with several types of metal powders were used. To give them strength, scientists used the so-called spark plasma sintering. First, the powders were placed in a graphite mold, where a pressure of about 1000 atmospheres was applied to them, then they were heated to 630 ° C, after which a current of 10, 000 amperes was passed through them.

According to scientists, the new material, unique in strength, will find its application, first of all, as a coating for spacecraft and armor.