Wei Hua Wang talks with
ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions about
this month's New Hot Paper in the field of Materials
Article Title: Super plastic bulk metallic glasses
at room temperature
Authors: Liu, YH;Wang, G;Wang, RJ;Zhao, DQ;Pan,
Year: MAR 9 2007
* Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Phys, POB 603, Beijing 100080,
Peoples R China.
* Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Phys, Beijing 100080, Peoples R
Why do you think your paper is highly
The study on the plasticity of bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) is one of the
hottest topics in the field of materials science because of the great
scientific and technological importance of these materials. But metallic
glasses have an Achilles' heel: an almost total lack of plasticity at room
temperature. This problem, to some extent, limits applications.
Our paper shows that large plasticity in terms of compressive ductility can
be achieved in ZrCuNiAl BMGs synthesized through the appropriate choice of
composition by controlling elastic moduli. This finding suggests a possible
solution for the inherent brittleness problem found in metallic glasses.
Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or
synthesis of knowledge?
"Our group shall
cooperate with other scientists within this field
who are also trying to achieve further scientific
understanding of the deformation mechanism in
The new discovery is that extraordinarily plastic BMGs can be obtained by
an appropriate choice of the composition utilizing the Poisson's ratio
strategy. These super-large plastic BMGs provide a model system for
deformation mechanism studies in glassy materials. The methodology used to
search the plastic metallic glass is described, with knowledge and analysis
Would you summarize the significance of your paper
in layman's terms?
The common wisdom on glassy materials is that glass is brittle and cannot
be bent. But our paper shows that we've come up with a new type of metallic
glass that flexes and bows like a copper wire. This advance could
potentially usher in an entirely new family of wonder materials and change
the understanding of these materials.
How did you become involved in this research, and
were there any problems along the way?
I have worked on metallic glassy materials for over 20 years, maintaining a
keen interest in the preparation, structure, mechanical, and physical
properties of metallic glasses.
Where do you see your research leading in the
These super-large plastic bulk metallic glasses provide model systems for
study of the long-standing issue of the deformation mechanism in glassy
materials. Our group shall cooperate with other scientists within this
field who are also trying to achieve further scientific understanding of
the deformation mechanism in metallic glasses.
Do you foresee any social or political implications
for your research?
We hope that our strategy will provide useful guidelines for the
development of plastic metallic glasses as high-performance structural
materials in other known or as yet unknown bulk metallic glass-forming
alloys which might benefit society.
Wei-Hua Wang, Ph.D.
Institute of Physics
Chinese Academy of Sciences