An amorphous metal is a metal with a disordered atomic structure, in contrast to most metals, which have a regular structure. These substances are also called metallic glasses, because one way of making amorphous metals resembles the procedure for making glass, but using metal instead of silica. Studies indicate that amorphous metals may be more than twice as strong as normal metal, and are ideal for military armor, weighing the same as ordinary metal. Because of the material’s disordered structure, it is also more resistant to corrosion and wear.
Amorphous metals were first created at Caltech by Pol Duwez . Duwez created the amorphous metal by cooling an alloy (Au80Si20) from a liquid state in under a fraction of a second. The cooling rate had to exceed a million degrees Kelvin per second, so cooling the metal from the liquid state to a solid state had to occur in milliseconds. Cooling this quickly prevented the metal from crystallizing like a typical metal, giving it its unique amorphous structure. At the beginning, the forms of amorphous metal were limited, consisting mostly of thin ribbons, foils, and wires. These constraints were enforced by the necessity of a fast cooling rate.
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