Industries and Applications of Amorphous Metals

Unique material properties enable a wide range of applications

Industries and applications

Amorphous metals combine unique material properties. This makes them predestined for a wide range of innovative high-tech applications in various industries such as aerospace, medical technology, robotics or e-mobility.

Aerospace

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Aerospace

Advantages of Amorphous Metals:

  • Resilience: Wear resistance in extreme environments and low temperature ductility
  • Corrosion resistance: as manufactured without coatings and postprocessing
  • Lightweight constructions: Design possibilities, complex geometries, tight tolerances, miniaturization
  • Reliability: Fatigue strength, low hysteresis, high elasticity

Applications:

  • Bearing housings and supports
  • Drilling heads and tools
  • Engine mounts and discs
  • Impeller, rotor and blade components
  • Joints, gears, hinges and shafts
  • Propulsion and engine applications
  • Seals and flaps
  • Spring and damping elements

Key requirements for components in the aerospace industry are not only weight savings and high stability, but also the ability to withstand cyclic loads in extreme environmental conditions. Amorphous metals are characterized by their high strength (> 2GPa bending strength) and the resulting freedom in geometric design (thinner or smaller component dimensions) as well as high corrosion resistance compared to commonly used titanium alloys or stainless steels. In addition, components made of amorphous metals are low-temperature ductile and exhibit good fatigue strength values (in the range of 400 MPa at 1 billion cycles and 25 Hz) making them particularly suitable for use in space applications.

Automotive & Mobility

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Automotive & Mobility

Advantages of Amorphous Metals:

  • Strength: High yield strength, corresponding fatigue strength and high hardness
  • Elasticity: High storage capacity of elastic energy
  • High magnetic permeability: Low coercive force
  • Precision: Tight tolerances and good repeatability range
  • Surface quality: Scratch-resistance, valuable surface feelings

Applications:

  • Decorative elements
  • Electric motor parts
  • Gears and drive components
  • Haptic components
  • Mounting elements
  • Suspensions

The future of mobility is characterized by the successive use of technological progress. This is where amorphous alloys make their contribution by enabling weight savings through 3D printing (up to 20 % compared to equivalent steel components) and design possibilities due to their high strength (1.6 GPa tensile strength) and elasticity (up to 2 %). Components can be made thinner, more delicate or smaller without sacrificing stability. Due to their very good hardness (> 480 HV) as well as their good creep and excellent corrosion resistance, amorphous metals are equally suitable for resistant use under continuous load as well as under punctual impacts. Spring parts, hinges and damping applications can be consistently redesigned with amorphous metals. This also makes new forms of mobility possible. Whether creep-resistant rotor blades of drones, flight cabin supports or pressure sensors with high accuracy and low hysteresis, amorphous metals are already proving to be pioneering materials for tomorrow's mobility.

Lifestyle

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Lifestyle (Watchmaking, Wearables, Instruments, Sports)

Advantages of Amorphous Metals:

  • Biocompatibility: Anti-bacterial in contact with skin
  • Cosmetic quality: High-quality optical appearance
  • Design: Freedom of geometric design and manufacturability within tight tolerances
  • Elasticity: Reliable transmitter or resonator of high amounts of elastic energy (also acoustic)
  • High wearing comfort: Low thermal conductivity and high surface quality
  • Miniaturization: Integration and protection of wearable technologies in small spaces
  • Resistance: Scratch, wear and corrosion resistance
  • Strength: Protection of sensible and functional technology
  • Uniqueness: Exceptional material class

Applications:

  • Instruments (guitar bridge and bridge pins, mouthpieces for wind instruments, tuning forks)
  • Sports (rackets, frames, bars)
  • Watchmaking (bezels, bracelet pins, clasps, housings, shock-absorbing safety elements)
  • Wearables (bracelets, hinges, housings, rings)

New classes of materials are interesting not only because of their uniqueness in high-end watches, but also because of their suitability in the search for materials for future technologies such as wearables. Here, the most sensitive technologies can be efficiently protected in miniaturized space and the housing design can be perfected. Lifestyle components made of amorphous metals are not only highly corrosion-resistant due to their biocompatibility, but also antibacterial and thus enable pleasant skin contact due to their low thermal conductivity and high surface quality. Functional advantages result from the high storage capacity of elastic energy (> 14 J/m3), among other things in acoustic energy in musical instruments, which also allows sports equipment’s like racket handles and aids to be designed efficiently.

Learn more about the advantages of amorphous implants in our Case Study "Watchmaking at the frontiers of perfection"

Medical Technology

Amloy Medical Implants

Medical Technology

Advantages of Amorphous Metals:

  • Biomechanical Properties: Low young’s modulus, high yield strength
  • Certified biocompatibility: No cytotoxicity, cell deformation or ion accumulation
  • Durability: High wear and corrosion resistance
  • Dynamic fixation and stabilization: High fatigue strength and high elastic limit
  • Miniaturization and design improvements: 3D-Printing or injection molding within tight tolerances and reproducible manufacturing

Applications:

  • Implants (spine, dental, traumatology)
  • Medical devices and fixtures
  • Surgical and dental instruments

Preferred materials for personalized implants, orthopedic and medical devices are facing a multitude of high requirements at the same time. Besides biocompatibility standards, manufacturability and surface functionality, especially the adaption of complex individual geometries are current challenges that create the bottleneck between a material solution approach and the application reference. The promising approach of using amorphous metals in this context has already been shown to be viable in practical studies and implementations. The potential to overcome previous challenges in design, functionality, and biocompatibility for biomedical applications from amorphous alloys have already been confirmed in in-vivo results. The demanding applications in medical technology demonstrate the advantageous fields of action of amorphous alloys, which unfold their potential in these challenges and open up new possibilities for providing better care to patients in the future.

Learn more about the advantages of amorphous implants in our Case Study "Medical Implants"

Robotics and Mechanics

Robotic

Robotics and Mechanics

Advantages of Amorphous Metals:

  • Elasticity: Durability, functional performance enlargement
  • Abrasion resistance: Lubrication free and longterm performance
  • Durability: Good fatigue strength and creep resistance
  • Miniaturization and design improvements: 3D-Printing or injection molding within tight tolerances and reproducible manufacturing

Applications:

  • Gears
  • Gripper elements
  • Machine elements
  • Spring components

Conventional materials used both for highly complex, technically feasible kinetics and for implementing simple but highly stressed mechanical concepts are reaching their limits in many areas of today's high-tech applications due to their limited mechanical properties. Enabled by their exceptional combination of high strength (1.6 GPa tensile strength) and high elasticity (up to 2%), many of these problems can already be solved today by amorphous alloys. Elastic machine elements in particular benefit from the property portfolio of amorphous metals. Bending joints and hinges, gripper units or spring components can be used efficiently and assembled with a long component life due to the fatigue strength (in the range of 400 MPa at 1 billion cycles and 25 Hz) and wear resistance of amorphous alloys.

Sensor applications

Amloy Sensor Components

Sensor Applications

Advantages of Amorphous Metals:

  • Sensitivity: Higher accuracy, high resolution in low pressure ranges
  • Miniaturization: Smaller diaphragm diameter, smaller assemblies, complex geometries
  • Reliability: Low hysteresis, corrosion resistance, no significant temperature effects (under Tg)

Applications:

  • Pressure sensors
  • Diaphragms
  • Load cells
  • Force transducers

The high demands on reliable sensitivity, fatigue strength, miniaturization possibilities as well as corrosion resistance and material hysteresis span the field of challenges with which materials of modern sensor systems are confronted. Particularly in measurement technology, where strain and elasticity are the main functions, the key to a reliable and accurate measurement range lies in a large, precisely defined elastic material behavior. This is exactly where components made of amorphous metals come into play and, in addition to narrower dimensions of the overall assembly, achieve equally accurate measurement results even in low-pressure ranges under the same load and with the same deformation. Due to their low hysteresis and good temperature resistance, amorphous metals also surpass the values of conventional materials.

Click here to download our free Whitepaper "Amorphous alloys meet sensor components"

Tool Inserts

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Tool Inserts

Advantages of amorphous metals:

  • Low thermal conductivity: Peripherals not necessary, high energy efficiency and less CO2
  • Simplification: Coatings not necessary, improved lifetime (vs. conventional steel inserts)
  • Surface accuracy: Avoidance of surface defects (weld lines), uniform / higher gloss

Applications:

  • Injection molded micro-optics
  • Injection molded plastic products with very high surface finish requirements

State-of-the-art plastic injection molding machines are equipped with sophisticated peripheral technology to ensure the ideal mold wall temperature for each process cycle at short notice. However, this is coupled to a high energy input and also unintentionally heats up the entire mold mass. At the same time, this can also lead to longer cycle times, since the temperature fluctuations have to be compensated. Geometric and design solutions in mold inserts have already contributed small steps to the solution. However, more profound and complete approaches with an energy- and process-efficient focus can be realized primarily with 3D-printed tool inserts made of amorphous alloys. Due to the low thermal conductivity and high fatigue strength of this class of materials, results are achieved with fewer surface defects on the components and with increased lifetimes of the amorphous inserts than with a conventional steel insert. In addition, improved energy efficiency is achieved, i.e. less energy is used overall and a reduction in CO2 emissions is implemented. This approach requires neither peripheral equipment nor coatings, and cycle times can also be shortened because the surfaces are produced so well that they are comparable to aluminum molds, whose service life is comparable to that of steel inserts, and the required coating process step is not necessary. In addition, the risk of the coating flaking off during the injection molding process and having to be reworked is avoided.