World’s first commercial nanostructured bulk metal

Nov 11, 2013
World’s first commercial nanostructured bulk metal
Large-scale manufacture of nanostructured steel shafts. Credit: Rolls Royce Plc.

When we think of structural materials, we usually imagine something big, strong and bulky, like steel beams in bridges and buildings, and while we are becoming familiar with composites reinforced with carbon nanotubes and nanofibers, it is yet hard to believe that the structure of bulk homogenous metals can be controlled at the nanoscale with commercial-scale production

In a paper published in the Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, Bhadeshia introduces the world's first bulk nanostructured metal in commercial production. The nanostructure-controlled high-strength bainitic steel, where the thickness of bainitic ferrite platelets is controlled between 20 and 50 nm is shown in the figures below.

The review paper explains why nanostructure plays an important role in strengthening materials, and the conditions required to design and develop such "nanostructured" materials. In particular, the biggest challenge is to keep the production cost as low as that of bottled water.

So, what magic is needed to produce low-cost nanostructured bulk steel? The answer is simple – keep the bulk at 200 °C for 10 days, which will lead to the formation of plate-like bainitic structure. One deficiency of the material is that it is yet difficult to weld, but the author lays out possible solutions to overcome this.

Explore further: Made-to-order materials: Engineers focus on the nano to create strong, lightweight materials

More information: "The first bulk nanostructured metal," Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, Vol. 14 (2013) p. 014202. Published in March 11, 2013 at iopscience.iop.org/1468-6996/14/1/014202

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NikFromNYC
1 / 5 (2) Nov 19, 2013
Are terribly old alloy annealing routines now "nanotech" too? Is talcum powder? Or soot?

How is it that C60 was in soot all this time, never noticed?

How is it that mere Scotch tape was all that was needed to pull graphene off of graphite?

What else are laboratory careerists failing to notice?

Oh, most everything, I assure you, on purpose, for lack of pluck and moxie, for the unexpected is too humbling to poofy puffed up propellor head geeks.

-=NikFromNYC=-, Ph.D. in making stuff (Columbia/Harvard)