EPM develops low cost ultra fine grained metals, nano-metals for structural applications


Background

Progress in materials and fabrication methods plays a vital role in human society. For example, one universal means of historical classification is based on the characteristics of materials used over time, such as stone, bronze, or iron. In this modern age of new materials, metals remain one of the most important industrial products. The continuously growing demands placed on the properties of metals and recycling are driving forces for increased focus on the optimal use of light alloys. The existing aluminum, magnesium and titanium base light alloys have now reach the limits of strength, toughness, corrosion resistance and other properties. In many important and critical applications, they cannot satisfy modern application requirements. Conventional methods to enhance properties by controlling the composition and by using more complicated alloys are nearly exhausted, expensive and undesirable in terms of resource conservation and recycling.

However, dramatic improvement may be achieved by the refinement of structure to sub-micron and nano scales in common alloys. Recently introduced is a new class of such materials, known as ultra fine grained bulk nano metals. Now it is well established that these light alloy metals demonstrate many outstanding characteristics: significant increase in strength and hardness up to 2.5 - 4 times, with respectively good ductility, uniform and isotropic properties, improved resistance to fatigue and stress corrosion and opportunity for fabrication of complex parts by using super plastic forming. The benefits attainable through structure and processing lead to well balanced, improved, and often unique material properties not achievable with traditional alloying and manufacturing techniques. As a result, there exist numerous potential applications in automotive industry, aerospace, military and other areas.

Until recently, fabrication of super- and nano metals was only possible by powdered metallurgy and methods of physical synthesis, which are very expensive and difficult to apply in the case of light alloys, especially on the industrial scale and for massive products. This situation is totally changed with the patents by Dr. Vladimir Segal of new techniques for severe plastic deformation of metals by simple shear. These methods of material processing to attain superior properties can be applied to different metals to solve many technical problems.



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