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Processing bulk metallic glass from the molten state

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  • This paper documents the investigation into injection molding, or die casting, a bulk metallic glass (BMG). A BMG is an amorphous metal of a thickness greater than 25 μm, according to leading researchers in the field. This critical thickness differentiates a normal metallic glass from a "bulk" metallic glass. The impetus for studying the ability to process lies in the material properties of the BMG, which has twice the strength of steel and the ability to be formed much like a thermoplastic. An initial discussion of processing options and history precedes a detailed description of the machine concept and design, including the governing parameters placed on the design. An account of methods and materials used has been included, along with problems encountered and resultant remedies. The initial results consist of the verification of the machine concept and the ability to replicate nanometer-sized surface features from a mold. Design issues are addressed and the corresponding revisions described. The final machine revision shows an increase in process repeatability. A presentation of photographs, which show results of forming the BMG against both copper and stainless steel, is offered as a qualitative assessment of the processing capability. A discussion of considerations and paths forward has been included for future research using the machine that was developed, but these processing theories could also be carried over to other experiments. In the end, this study proves the ability to form extremely small surface features in cast BMG parts and makes suggestions on research avenues that may give a better understanding of the variables involved in processing BMG from the molten state.
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