by Staff Writers
Logan UT (SPX) Sep 25, 2017
If you drop an aluminum spoon in a sink full of water, the spoon will sink to the bottom. That's because aluminum, in its conventional form, is denser than water says Utah State University chemist Alexander Boldyrev.
But if you restructure the common household metal at the molecular level, as Boldyrev and colleagues did using computational modeling, you could produce an ultra-light crystalline form of aluminum that's lighter than water. Boldyrev, along with scientists Iliya Getmanskii, Vitaliy Koval, Rusian Minyaev and Vladimir Minkin of Southern Federal University in Rostov-on Don, Russia, published findings in the Sept. 18, 2017, online edition of 'The Journal of Physical Chemistry C.'
The team's research is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Russian Ministry of Science and Education.
"My colleagues' approach to this challenge was very innovative," says Boldyrev, professor in USU's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. "They started with a known crystal lattice, in this case, a diamond, and substituted every carbon atom with an aluminum tetrahedron."
The team's calculations confirmed such a structure is a new, metastable, lightweight form of crystal aluminum. And to their amazement, it has a density of only 0.61 gram per cubic centimeter, in contrast to convention aluminum's density of 2.7 grams per cubic centimeter.
"That means the new crystallized form will float on water, which has a density of one gram per cubic centimeter," Boldyrev says.
Such a property opens a whole new realm of possible applications for the non-magnetic, corrosive-resistant, abundant, relatively inexpensive and easy-to-produce metal.
"Spaceflight, medicine, wiring and more lightweight, more fuel-efficient automotive parts are some applications that come to mind," Boldyrev says. "Of course, it's very early to speculate about how this material could be used. There are many unknowns. For one thing, we don't know anything about its strength."
Still, he says, the breakthrough discovery marks a novel way of approaching material design.
"An amazing aspect of this research is the approach: using a known structure to design a new material," Boldyrev says. "This approach paves the way for future discoveries."
East Lansing MI (SPX) Sep 22, 2017
Sand, spanning miles of beaches, carpeting vast oceans and deserts, is a visual metaphor for limitless resources. Yet researchers in this week's journal Science seize another metaphor - sand in an hourglass, marking time running out. Sand is the literal foundation of urban development across the globe, a key ingredient of concrete, asphalt, glass, and electronics. It is cheap and easily ex ... read more
Utah State University
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|