The combination of platinum and gold has become the most durable metal alloy in the world

<pre>The combination of platinum and gold has become the most durable metal alloy in the world

Engineers from Sandia National Laboratories have begun to study metal alloys at the level of the fundamental mechanisms of the behavior of atoms and almost immediately made a discovery that claims to be sensational. An alloy of 90% platinum and 10% gold, generally known long ago, showed new outstanding properties. And now it is directly compared to diamond for abrasion resistance – for the first time in history.

The authors of the discovery came up with a vivid analogy for describing its essence. Imagine that you are directing the car on tires from this substance to a controlled drift. You slip a whole mile before you can destroy just one layer of atoms of this alloy. Thus, it will be possible to drive in drift 500 times around the equator before they rub off into the trash.

At the same time, the alloy of platinum and gold is not at all solid, which is why it was ignored. A key feature is the unique mechanical and thermal stability in friction or heating without changing the microstructure of the substance on long test cycles. But also it not the most curious, during tests on a surface of an alloy the strange black film began to be formed. Samples were shoved into a microscope and they saw diamond-like carbon, which acts as a natural lubricant.

This is extremely effective, but very complex in obtaining a lubricant, and in the case of this alloy it is formed “in itself”. Carbon molecules from the environment somehow stick to the alloy and because of the enormous loads in friction and heating they turn into a kind of miniature diamonds. In the industry, vacuum chambers with high-temperature plasma are launched for this purpose, and here it is enough to rub a couple of pieces of iron against each other with force. The prospects for the discovery have yet to be assessed.

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