none

X-RAY TESTING SHOWS POTENTIAL OF LIGHTWEIGHT MAGNESIUM

22-07-2019
by 
in 
Professor Jian-Feng Nie, Monash University: "Lightweight magnesium has tremendous potential"

Engineers are constantly seeking strong, lightweight materials for use in cars, planes and other vehicles to improve aerodynamics, speed, fuel efficiency and weight load. A world-first study by researchers from Monash University, Chongqing University (China) and the CSIRO has discovered a technique that can be used for creating stronger, lightweight magnesium alloys that could improve structural integrity in the automobile and aerospace industries.

The researchers discovered a pattern of alloying element segregation in twin boundaries by using atomic-resolution X-ray mapping at much lower electron voltage. Their findings have been published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.

The discovery is significant, as the deformation of lightweight magnesium during thermomechanical processes and applications prevents those alloys from being used more widely in place of steel. It also has implications for other light alloys such as aluminium and titanium.

“Lightweight magnesium has tremendous potential for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly applications,” says lead author Professor Jian-Feng Nie, from Monash University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “But the segregation in these materials is prone to electron beam damage.

“The electron beam damage is most severe when segregated solute atoms become a single atomic column. This impacts the formability, deformation behaviour and tension-compression strength of wrought magnesium products. We demonstrated that it’s possible to solve this difficulty by using atomic-resolution X-ray mapping at a much lower accelerating voltage of electrons [120kV] instead of 300kV, which is commonly used.

“We further discovered that the new segregation pattern increases the boundary pinning effect by more than 30 times, and switches the migration mechanism of the twin boundary from the commonly accepted mode to a new one.”

The researchers used a magnesium alloy containing neodymium and silver as part of their study, which contains superior mechanical properties at both ambient and elevated temperatures. They found significant improvements in shear stress, by 33 times, and elastic strain limit occurred when the twin boundary was populated with neodymium and silver.

The increased charge density between silver and neodymium with the magnesium indicated a stronger bond and strengthening of the twin. As force is applied, the magnesium is pushed towards the neodymium and away from the silver, creating a stronger, lightweight alloy.

“Our work demonstrates that the atomic-scale analysis of the structure and chemistry of solute segregation in metallic alloys with complex compositions is now possible,” Prof Nie says.

Related news & editorials

  1. Planning is now expected to progress on a new hydrogen export facility to be built in Gladstone.
    02.12.2020
    02.12.2020
    by      In
    Construction of a new renewable hydrogen export facility could be green lit after the Queensland government signed a partnership with a major Japanese energy supplier.
    Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the landmark pact between the government-owned generator Stanwell and Japanese energy... Read More
  2. Westpac executive Anthony Miller said the new approach presented an opportunity to “reinvigorate” local manufacturing.
    02.12.2020
    02.12.2020
    by      In
    A new report has found a majority of business leaders across the Asia Pacific are actively reducing their reliance on China in their supply chains, which will reinvigorate the local industry.
    The latest Asia Pacific CEO survey conducted by Westpac’s institutional arm found 57 per cent of large... Read More
  3. The charging network will run from Kununurra in the north to the state capital Perth, then down to Esperance in the south and to Kalgoorlie in the east – some 4,130 kilometres total.
    01.12.2020
    01.12.2020
    by      In
    One of the drawbacks to owning an electric vehicle is the lack of charging infrastructure in remote locations. Well, Western Australia has an answer to that!
    A desert dash through the outback in your electric car is on the horizon after the state government announced a $21 million electric vehicle... Read More
  4. South Australia has flagged its intentions to be the nation’s leaders in the emerging space manufacturing sector.
    01.12.2020
    01.12.2020
    by      In , In
    South Australia has flagged its intentions to be the nation’s leaders in the emerging space manufacturing sector.
    The state government has launched its Space Sector Strategy, which will focus its activities in space industry and research to propel SA’s growth in the area and contribute to the... Read More