A new metal might finally replace the old in a variety of construction applications

UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have managed to create an extremely strong yet lightweight material that possesses a great stiffness-to-weight ratio. Since the properties of this metal are thoroughly unique, it could definitely be replacing older materials that are used in the construction of vehicle chassis used in airplanes, spacecraft, and cars.

According to the researchers, they have managed to create a scalable manufacturing method to develop this new metal. The material comprises up of magnesium and is infused with ceramic silicon carbide nanoparticles, at least according to the latest report. The research states the following according to Xiaochun Li, the lead researcher and Raytheon Chair in Manufacturing Engineering at UCLA.

“It’s been proposed that nanoparticles could really enhance the strength of metals without damaging their plasticity, especially light metals like magnesium, but no groups have been able to disperse ceramic nanoparticles in molten metals until now. With an infusion of physics and materials processing, our method paves a new way to enhance the performance of many different kinds of metals by evenly infusing dense nanoparticles to enhance the performance of metals to meet energy and sustainability challenges in today’s society.”

When comparing different materials, magnesium happens to be the lightest in weight and is two-thirds the density of aluminum (aluminum has much more durability but it cannot be used in vehicle chassis since it will increase the overall weight of that vehicle). In order to improve the durability of the magnesium-based metal, researchers infused a number of silicon carbide particles smaller than 100 nanometers into magnesium, which added to the metal’s strength, and increased its durability.

According to the research, the new material will greatly improve fuel efficiency since less strain will be put on the engine while moving heavy vehicles. In addition, it will also be used in mobile technology, biomedical devices and other electronics too.