They are sought for various commercial applications because they are very strong and are easily processed."
New York, Aug 14 - The glasses you use could soon be as strong as metals as engineers from University of Pittsburgh have just done what materials scientists have long sought to do: turning pure monoatomic metals into glass.
The researchers transformation liquefied elemental metals tantalum and vanadium into glass with a new cooling technique.
Tantalum is widely used in electronic equipment such as mobile phones, DVD players, video game systems and computers.
This is a fundamental issue explored by people in this field for a long time, but nobody could solve the problem. People believed that it could be done and now we are able to show that it is possible, said Scott X Mao, a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at University of Pittsburgh.
The new method of creating metallic glass involved developing and implementing a new technique - a cooling nano-device under in-situ transmission electron microscope - that enabled the engineers to achieve a high cooling rate that allowed for the transformation of liquefied elemental metals into glass.
Metallic glasses are unique in that their structure is not crystalline, as it is in most metals, but rather is disordered, with the atoms randomly arranged.
They are sought for various commercial applications because they are very strong and are easily processed.
The study appeared online in the journal Nature.