Admantium?! Engineers Just Created The Most Wear-Resistant Alloy Known To Humankind

Friday, 17 August 2018 - 11:58AM
Technology
Friday, 17 August 2018 - 11:58AM
Admantium?! Engineers Just Created The Most Wear-Resistant Alloy Known To Humankind
< >
Image Credit: Pixabay
Graphene may hold the title of "strongest material known to man," but there's a new substance that may be just as useful. A team of scientists from Sandia National Laboratories have created a new alloy that's the most wear-resistant material ever created, and they did it by combining two of the rarest and most valuable metals on Earth: gold and platinum.

According to the researchers, the new alloy Pt-Au is so durable that you could replace the tires of your car with it and drive around the Earth's equator (which is 24,901 miles) about 500 times before you wore through it. Combinations of gold and platinum have been tested before, but the Sandia Labs team went deep—using computational labs, they were able to compose the material from the atomic level to ensure that its strength and durability would reach peak levels. According to Michael Chandross, one of the co-authors of the new study describing the alloy: "We're getting down to fundamental atomic mechanisms and microstructure and tying all these things together to understand why you get good performance or why you get bad performance, and then engineering an alloy that gives you good performance."

Electronic devices like smart phones could have much, much longer lifespans by using a thin coating of this new alloy on their moving parts, potentially saving the electronics industry about $100 million per year. The most valuable aspect of this material, however, was totally unexpected: during testing, the alloy began to form a black film on its surface that turned out to be diamond-like carbon, one of the most expensive and effective artificial lubricants. According to John Curry, the principal author on the new study: "We believe the stability and inherent resistance to wear allows carbon-containing molecules from the environment to stick and degrade during sliding to ultimately form diamond-like carbon. Industry has other methods of doing this, but they typically involve vacuum chambers with high temperature plasmas of carbon species. It can get very expensive."

So not only is this alloy the most wear-resistant material on Earth, it also creates one of the best lubricants in the industry all by itself. Nice.

Science
Science News
Technology