High density metallic glass alloys

Offers high mechanical strength and toughness and protection against galvanic corrosion for high-wear surfaces in challenging environments


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The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is a leading developer of stable, environmentally-friendly materials and coatings with particular expertise in developing innovations to prevent or minimize thermochemical erosion of substrate materials which may lead to pitting, cracking, and failure.

ARL’s new hafnium-based metallic glass alloys are based on the replacement of zirconium in an otherwise zirconium-based system.  The use of hafnium creates a material with higher density, greater failure strength, while retaining the excellent glass forming ability of zirconium-based systems.  Because of its excellent glass forming ability, the ARL material has the capability to create bulk solids on the order of centimeters thick.  As a surface coating, the ARL material provides durability in repeated-wear applications as experienced in printing press dies and injection molds.  In corrosive environments, the lack of crystalline structure leaves no imperfections to attack, making the material a good candidate for marine applications.  From a military perspective, the alloy is a good candidate for “penetrator” munitions. This is due to the material’s high density and the fact that it deforms on favorable shear planes upon impact; hence creating a “self-sharpening” effect similar to that seen in depleted uranium.

The invented hafnium-based metallic glass alloy is compatible with current fabrication methods common to industry.  Where needed, simple finishing operations such as surface grinding can be employed.  The material freezes in an amorphous vitreous state, which reduces shrinkage and allows for cost effective fabrication.  The alloy is serviceable up to 600 degrees C, which is approximately the glass transition temperature of the material.

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