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article imageSuper alloy bounces back to shape, again and again

By Tim Sandle     May 30, 2015 in Science
Materials scientists have created an alloy that pops back into shape even after it has been bent over 10 million times. The alloy has broken all existing records.
The alloy has been constructed from nickel, titanium and copper (TiNiCu.) An alloy is a material composed of two or more metals. Some alloys can be bent and then return to their original shape. However, until now, each type of shape-memory alloy has faced the same problem: they wear out, and often do so quickly.
In trials, the new alloy was subjected to at least 10 million transformation cycles and each time the alloy, no matter how it was bent or deformed, snapped back to its original shape. The secret was to add titanium and copper ions to the initial structure. According to Gizmodo, the new alloy contains a special crystal structure and thus allows it to undergo bending more easily than other metals.
The material has a number of potential uses, including in the medical field as the basis for artificial heart valves; and in transport, as aircraft materials; and with consumer products, like the outer shell of refrigerators.
The material was developed at the University of Maryland and University of Kiel, in Germany. Lead scientist, Professor Manfred Wuttig, told BBC Science: "Usually shape memory alloys - like in minimally invasive surgery - they regain their shape once, or a few times, but not multiple times."
The new alloy has been featured in a paper published in the journal Science. The featured paper is titled "Ultralow-fatigue shape memory alloy films."
More about Alloy, memory alloy, super alloy, materials, materials science
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