In the future, nanoglasses might contribute to batteries and fuel cells becoming more efficient and safe. The idea is to replace liquid electrolytes, e.g. in lithium-ion batteries, by the novel solids. Metallic glasses are amorphous, i.e. disordered structures of mainly metal components or alloys of metals. For more than 50 years now, such materials have been produced by rapid quenching of the melt, such that the atomic structure of the disordered melt is preserved in the solid. In a similar way, oxide glasses, such as window glass, have been produced for centuries. Their cooling rates, however, are far smaller than those of metallic glasses.
State of the art
All glasses are characterized by an increased free volume, i.e. reduced density compared to the crystalline state. Using conventional production methods, such as quenching of the glass melt, the free volume and the resulting physical properties can hardly be influenced.
Scientists of the Institute of Nanotechnology (INT) have succeeded in producing metallic glasses with a far increased free volume compared to glasses produced by quenching. They use an innovative production method, the first step of which produces amorphous nanoparticles that are then compacted at high pressure in a second step. This results in a two-phase structure with areas of high (nanoparticle nuclei) and low density (interfaces).
Plasticity of a metallic nanoglass differs drastically from that of a glass of the same chemical composition produced by quenching. Under mechanical loading, the quenched glass tends to show a brittle behavior, while the nanoglass possesses enhanced plasticity. As regards magnetic properties, the difference in behavior is even more pronounced: The quenched state is paramagnetic, while the compacted nanoparticles show a ferromagnetic behavior at room temperature.
Options for companies
The KIT looks for partners for the industrial use of nanoglasses.
Your contact person for this offer
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Head of Technology Transfer, Innovation and Relations Management (IRM)
Phone: +49 721 608-25582