Home Materials Study: Astonishing strength of metals in extreme heat

Study: Astonishing strength of metals in extreme heat

Researchers at MIT have discovered that metals become stronger when heated during extreme impacts. This surprising phenomenon could revolutionize the development of materials for extreme environments, such as protective shields for spacecraft, or this method could also play a role in 3D printing.

Traditionally, it is assumed that metals become softer when heated, which is used in forging, among other things. However, the research results of the team led by Ian Dowding, PhD student at MIT, and Christopher Schuh, former head of the Department of Materials Science and now Dean at Northwestern University, show that under certain conditions the opposite is true: metals can become stronger instead of weaker when hit by objects at extremely high speeds.

These findings could be particularly important for the development of materials used in extreme environments such as space or in high-speed manufacturing. In their study, the researchers bombarded metal plates with tiny sapphire particles that were accelerated to high speeds by laser beams. These particles, only a few micrometers in size, show that at very high impact speeds and elevated temperatures, the metals exhibit increased strength.

The results are particularly relevant for areas such as the protection of spacecraft or the development of new manufacturing technologies. According to Schuh, the application of these findings could lead to new approaches in material selection, whereby less strong but less expensive or easier to process metals could also be used under extreme conditions.

Finally, the research group emphasizes that the techniques that led to the discovery of this phenomenon could also be applied to other materials and extreme situations. This opens the door for further studies that will potentially advance materials science significantly by showing how materials behave under extreme stress conditions.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

3DPresso is a weekly newsletter that links to the most exciting global stories from the 3D printing and additive manufacturing industry.

Privacy Policy*

You can find the privacy policy for the newsletter here. You can unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time. For further questions, you can contact us here.