What is a metallic glass

Metallic solid glasses

.. a revolution in metallurgy

New materials are the key to future innovations. Progress is primarily made through the improvement and development of new materials and material classes.
The Chair for Metallic Materials (LMW) lays the foundation for innovation in the field of metallic solid glass.

What are metallic solid glasses?

Metallic solid glasses (MMG`s) are multi-component metallic alloys whose liquidus temperature is far below the melting temperature of the main component. Solid glass-forming alloys are characterized by a low tendency to crystallize, which means that there is no formation of a periodic crystal structure and the associated jump in volume when the melt solidifies. Instead, a glass forms with a (macroscopically) random structure. This structure gives MMG's unique properties.

Metallic solid glasses are characterized by their superior mechanical properties. High strength (approx. 2 GPa) paired with high elastic elongation (approx. 2%) and low damping make metallic glasses an ideal spring material.
Their high resistance to corrosion also makes amorphous metals interesting for coatings and components that are exposed to highly corrosive atmospheres.

The manufacturing processes for components made of metallic solid glass are varied.
Classic casting processes from metal processing, injection molding processes from plastics processing, as well as thermoplastic molding and rapid prototyping can be implemented, with significantly lower shrinkage and thus hardly any warpage compared to crystalline materials.
This means that near-net-shape components can be produced that hardly require any post-processing.

The greatest challenge lies in increasing the manufacturable thickness of glass-like solidifying components. Thanks to ongoing research in the field of metallic glasses, components on the order of centimeters can now be produced.

Research areas

The Chair for Metallic Materials (LMW) divides its research interests into 3 areas.

  • The LMW conducts basic research in the field of thermodynamics and kinetics of solid metallic glasses. The effects of structure on macroscopic properties such as viscosity are the focus of research interest. For this, the LMW uses its own laboratories and measurement times at large research facilities (e.g. DLR, DESY, ESRF).
  • On the other hand, the Chair for Metallic Materials conducts alloy development. With the help of thermal analysis methods, the new alloys are examined for their glass-forming ability and further developed in our own laboratories. The aim is to create commercially usable alloys as construction materials for small components.
  • The third research area is process engineering for the production of crystalline and amorphous semi-finished products from solid glass-forming alloys, as well as the near-net-shape production of amorphous components using various manufacturing processes. The central topic here is upscaling from the laboratory scale to the requirements of industrial production.

Spin-off: Amorphous Metal Solutions

The research work at LMW also resulted in the spin-off of the company Amorphous Metal Solutions GmbH (AMS). AMS produces components made of metallic glasses (amorphous metals) on an industrial scale. The start-up was founded by four former LMW doctoral students.

More information about AMS can be found here and on the AMS homepage (https://www.ams-metal.de/).