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Hi! I have heard of this really cool "liquid metal" at liquidmetal.com, are there any publicly avaliable products of liquid metal?
Answer 1:

I checked out the liquid metal site, and it looks like quite a few things are commercially available.

This is really about using the amorphous nature of the metal to make manufacturing easier. The room temperature properties of "liquid" metal aren't beyond what is available in other traditional alloys. What's going on here is that the amorphous metals behave like amorphous glass, getting softer as the temperature rises, well before the melting temperature. This makes the metal more like a plastic putty, which can then be shaped easily into a product with inexpensive equipment (relatively), just like plastic can.

Ordinary crystalline metals of high strength require very expensive equipment to form into products because of the forces required to deform the metal. And the dies (i.e. molds) are also very expensive. The key is that the "liquid" metal becomes soft at a relatively low temperature (for metals, so it's still pretty hot). And upon cooling it regains its high strength.

I wonder if the ease of forming (the making of the product) justifies the expense of the amorphous alloy. Given the cost of some of the items linked to on the web site, it must be.


Answer 2:

These materials are also called "bulk metallic glasses" or BAMS.The company Liquidmetal produces sporting goods such as baseball bats and golf clubs that are supposedly made of these materials. In reality, they have a thin layer of the BAMS material on the outside of the baseball bats because BAMS are too expensive to make the whole bat out of. The same may be true of the golf clubs, but I don't know for sure. The neat thing about BAMS is that they don't dissipate energy the same way regular metals do, so if you hit a baseball or golf ball with one of these special bats or clubs, more of your energy goes into making the ball go a long distance (or at least that's the idea - if there is only a small film the real effect is probably not that big as compared to a plain old bat).

Good luck and keep up your great questions - it sounds like you'll be a great scientist some day!



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