Metallic glass inserts eyed for 'lab-on-chip' microfluidics

05/31/2012

Bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) have been in the news because of Apple's research into their potential in consumer electronics devices such as iPads.

They also have significant potential to create injection mold inserts with nanoscale features.

In an article published in Materials Today, Michael Gilchrist, David Browne and colleagues at University College
Nano surfaces are visible in bulk metallic glass part. Source: "Zhang, N., Byrne, C.J., Browne, D.J. & Gilchrist, M.D., Towards nano-injection moulding. Materials Today, 15 (5) pp. 216-221 (2012)".

Dublin describe the potential for BMGs, which were discovered at CalTech about thirty years ago. They are a sophisticated brew of exotic metals which—if processed very carefully—form amorphous structures. Most metals have crystalline structures.

The amorphous structure means that BMGs can be injection molded like plastics and they can be machined with microscopic precision below the grain size of conventional metals. They also retain the strength and durability of normal metals....
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