Super-hard nanocrystalline iron retains strength, hardness in high temperatures

May 28th, 2008 - 12:03 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 28 (ANI): American scientists have invented a substance far stronger and harder than conventional iron, and which retains such characteristics even under extremely high temperatures.

North Carolina State University researchers say that their creation may pave the way for a host of potential applications, such as engine components that are exposed to high stress and high temperatures.

They insisted that unlike the usual nano-iron whose nanocrystalline structure would break down at relatively modest temperatures, their new material was an iron-zirconium alloy that could retain its nanocrystalline structures at temperatures above 1,300 degrees Celsius, approaching the melting point of iron.

Ph.D. student Kris Darling, lead researcher behind this development, said that the alloys ability to retain its nanocrystalline structure under high temperatures would allow for the material to be developed in bulk, as conventional methods of materials manufacture rely on heat and pressure.

The researcher said that the ability to work with the alloy at high temperatures would enable it to be formed into such shapes as would be useful as tools, as well as in structural applications like engine parts.

Darling also said that the new material was economically viable because it costs virtually the same amount to produce the alloy as it does to create nano-iron.

Dr. Carl C. Koch, an NC State professor of materials science engineering, revealed that the alloy essentially consisted of one per cent zirconium and 99 per cent iron.

He said that the zirconium allowed the alloy to retain its nanocrystalline structure under high temperatures.

An article on the invention of super-hard nanocrystalline iron will appear in the journal Scripta Materialia. (ANI)

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