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About Heraeus AMLOY - Amorphous Metals

Amorphous metals are frozen in their liquid condition during the casting process. The absence of lattice defects drive the excellent mechanical properties, the outstanding corrosion resistance, biocompatibility and isotropic behavior.

Thus, metallic glasses are suitable for an exceptional number of high-tech applications. They are energy-absorbing and scratch-proof while still having very good spring characteristics – interesting for applications such as injection nozzle, diaphragms, casing for consumer electronics, or as dome tweeters for speakers to mention only a few.

What is an amorphous metal?

During the casting of metals and metallic alloys nuclei of crystals are formed and tend to grow in a second stage of solidification. Grain size, shape, orientation as well as distribution of the alloying elements depend strongly on the cooling conditions. The imperfection of the lattice structure is driving the mechanical and electromagnetic properties of the material in one or the other direction. Impurities along grain and/or phase boundaries drive predisposition against corrosion, brittleness or poor fracture toughness.

Due to the absence of lattice defects, i.e. no grain and phase boundaries and no related composition variations, amorphous metals are also known as liquid metal, metallic glass or BMG (Bulk Metallic Glasses).

Amorphous Alloys offered by Heraeus:


  • Zr-based: AMZ4 VIT105
  • Cu-based: AMC4
  • Ti-based
  • Pt-based (for jewelry applications as sponsored AIF project)

AMLOY - Beyond Limits:

Advantages for your Application

Amorphous metals are tackling all requirements of high-tech applications and show advantages over other metals:

Biocompatibility and corrosion resistance are the most required properties for materials used for medical implants. Best suited for this purpose are pure metallic elements as Platinum, Niobium, Tantalum or Titanium. The huge disadvantage of the pure elements is their strength, which is mostly not sufficient for the required application. Therefore small compositions of elements are alloyed to increase the strength with the effect, that due to composition variations along phase and grain boundaries, biocompatibility is slightly reduced.

Due to the absence of lattice effects amorphous metals are the next generation materials for implants combining high strength (>2000 MPa) and excellent ductility with biocompatibility. The Young-modulus matches with ~ 80 GPa the mechanical behavior of bone. University of Graz conducted cytotoxic tests in order to proof biocompatibility of amorphous metals.

Amorphous light weight materials made of Titanium are twice as strong as the usual crystallineTitanium-based compositions and therefore excellently qualified for the use of components in the space- and aircraft industry. High stability and strength by saving weight are key-requirements in this market field.

Lifestyle products are evoking an emotional connection to its consumers. High quality surface finish, haptic and scratch resistance are material requirements for lifestyle products, which are searched for. In addtion amorphous metals offer high storage capacity for elastic properties and shock absorbance.

The thermo-plastic forming behavior of amorphous metals is another big advantage the material class can offer, if it comes to mechanical connection with other metallic or ceramic or even plastic components. When it comes to processing amorphous metals the absence of phase transition from liquid to solid is an advantage. This leads to the avoidance of high shrinkage which in turn enables the manufacturing of net-shape-products.

Contact our experts in order to discuss your application and learn more about how amorphous metals can improve your product.

In the field of amorphous metals we are working in close research cooperation with the following universities:

AMLOY - Amplifying Material Performance:

Technical Benefits

Amorphous metals offer a unique combination of characteristics that are incompatible in conventional materials.

Relative material characteristics comparison
Relative material characteristics comparison

Mechanical

  • High yield strength combined with excellent ductility (2 times higher than steel)
  • High fracture toughness
  • High hardness, good wear and abrasion resistance (similar to ceramic)
  • Isotropic behavior

Electrical and Magnetic

  • High magnetic permeability
  • Electrical resistivity nearly temperature independent
  • Easy to magnetize and demagnetize

Due to those properties Amorphous Metals can be perfectly used in applications such as e-motors or EMI shields.

Chemical and Medical

  • High corrosion resistance due to lack of grain and phase boundaries
  • Biocompatibility of some alloys

Processing and Production

  • Low solidification shrinkage leads to high precision and finish in casting
  • Thermoplastic forming at glass transition temperature

Due to those benefits amorphous metals can be used in applications such as transmission, springs and cutting tools.

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