UCLA researchers made lightweight, but super strong metal from Magnesium and silicon carbide nanoparticles

A group of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has created a new metal, which in spite of being extremely lightweight is super strong. The possibilities this newly created metal bring with are truly intriguing and possibly endless.

The team at UCLA creating this new metal represented the organization’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. The newly developed metal, which according to the UCLA researchers boasts exceedingly high stiffness-to-weight ratio, comprises of magnesium infused into an even and dense diffusion of ceramic silicon carbide nanoparticles.

The researchers are saying that this new metal can be used for making lightweight airplanes, cars as well as spacecrafts. The ability of this amazing metal to reduce the weight of those vehicles will automatically improve their fuel efficiency. The researchers are saying that the metal might also be used for making biomedical and mobile devices.

This ultra-strong, but the lightweight material was created through manipulation of nano-particles present in molten metal. The study’s principle investigator Xiaochun Li, who also happens to be the UCLA Raytheon Chair in Manufacturing Engineering, said that since a long time it has been said that nano-particles can help in enhancing strength of metals (particularly the light metals such as magnesium) without spoiling the materials’ plasticity, but this is the first time a group has succeeded in dispersing ceramic nano-particles into molten metal.

Li added that by combining theories of physics and material processing, he and his team have developed a new method that paves a fresh way of enhancing performance of a range of metals through even infusion of dense nano-particles. This in turn improves those metals’ performance by allowing them to meet the sustainability and energy challenges imposed by the modern society.


The senior investigator further said that the results he and his colleagues have managed to get so far represent nothing more than the tip of the ice berg. He believes that right now the researchers are just scratching the surface of a hidden treasure consisted of a new category of metals boasting revolutionary functionalities and properties. Now, we will have to wait and watch how soon large scale production of the new metal can be started.

The entire study has been published in the popular scientific journal Nature.