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Oct 24.17 Breakthrough Research Shapes Pure Magnesium at Room Temperature
Widely available, strong and biodegradable, magnesium is prized for a variety of manufacturing processes as the lightest structural metal. It is 66% as dense as aluminum and 25% as dense as steel, recommending its use as a substitute for steel or aluminum alloys in more energy efficient and environmentally friendly applications.

Magnesium is also brittle and is intrinsically difficult to form at room temperature, normally formed at elevated temperatures between 200-400°C. But new research conducted by Monash University (an Australian public research university based in Melbourne, Australia) scientists points to a method to change magnesium’s microstructure to become super-formable (malleable) at room temperature without alloying. The process could reduce energy costs associated with heating magnesium and may promise a bigger role for magnesium to replace heavier alloys presently used in automobile production, resulting in lighter cars, better fuel economy and fewer emissions.

Most magnesium automotive components are made now using castings for various parts including casings and steering wheels. But the Monash research larger structural components that require formability, like body panels and roof structures.
Zhuoran Zeng, Research Fellow at Monash University, described the process in which pure magnesium is pushed through a die at 80°C, then cold-rolled. This changes the microstructure of the magnesium so that it is no longer brittle. It can be cold-rolled at room temperature to under a millimeter of thickness without cracking. “We can even roll it to the thickness of aluminum foil and bend it 180° after rolling. . . we can expand beyond the application of cast magnesium to super-formable magnesium that can be rolled, bent or compressed into any shape,” he says.

The research paper, titled Super-formable pure magnesium at room temperature was published in the London based Nature Communications journal. It can be accessed athttps://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01330-9


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