Researchers from Tohoku University have developed a copper-based alloy with unparalleled elasticity at room temperature. The alloy is not only highly elastic but is also simple to produce at scale.
The elasticity of a metal refers to the rate at which it can distort its size and shape. Most metals have some degree of elasticity. But when the metals with less elasticity continually undergo force applications to expand elastically they get prone to cracks and crevices.
So to meet specific requirements for everyday applications, metal needs to be easily stretched, deformed, and still strong enough to return to its original form. However, incorporating these properties into metals and alloys is a tricky balancing act.
The alloy in bulk form has an extraordinarily high tensile elastic strain of 4.3% at room temperature
Although many metals and alloys on reducing to micro or nano scales can bear a strain value of around 10%. But in their bulk shape, their elastic strain falls to below 1%. For example, Stainless steel, which has uses in cookware to outer space an elastic strain value of <0.2%.
In this study, researchers developed a copper-based single crystalline alloy in bulk with a tensile elastic strain of over 4.3% at room temperature. Researchers boast that the alloy is remarkably strong and it has the largest tensile elastic strain at room temperature to date.
“Our bulk alloy can be used as spring materials with high recoverability, and they could also be applied to devices that employ strain-mediated sensors, such as stretchable electronics” said Sheng Xu, who led the research. “The new alloy’s low Young’s modulus resembles human bones and therefore has the potential for use in medical applications.”