PerspectiveMaterials Science

The More Elements, the Merrier

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Science  18 Apr 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5618, pp. 443-444
DOI: 10.1126/science.1083759

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New alloy materials are commonly discovered by trial and error, a labor-intensive approach that is not well suited for alloys containing more than two or three elements. But as Shiflet explains in his Perspective, new approaches based on computational thermodynamics and quantum mechanics are heralding a new age of alloy discovery. He highlights the report by Saito et al., who have used such an approach to discover a new superplastic, multifunctional Ti alloy containing five elements. Because of the strict chemical constraints, such a complex material would most likely never be designed using a trial-and-error approach.