PerspectiveMaterials Science

How to Be Both Strong and Thermally Stable

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Science  18 Oct 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6156, pp. 320-321
DOI: 10.1126/science.1245794

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Ultrafine-grained (UFG) materials with grain sizes below 1 µm have been a subject of extensive investigation over the past two decades because of their unusual properties, including resistance to wear, fracture strength, and resistance to corrosion even at high temperatures. On page 337 of this issue, Liu et al. (1) report a UFG material with a nanolaminated structure. The hardness and thermal stability of this material exceeds that of other known UFG materials. To produce the material, the authors apply a very high-rate shear deformation with high strain gradients to the top surface layer of a pure bulk nickel rod, thereby inducing the formation of two-dimensional nanometer-thick laminated structures. The resulting material has gradients in both geometrical grain structure and mechanical properties and also shows high thermal stability.