New method for designing ultra-light aluminum crystals

- May 28, 2018-

Scientists simulated the design of super-tetrahedral aluminum crystals that are lighter than water. Photo courtesy of scientists from the Federal University of Russia

According to a report recently organized by the Physicist Organization Network, scientists at the University of Utah (USU) and the Russian Federal University of Russia used computer models to design light-weight ultra-light crystalline aluminum. The major breakthrough, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Physical Chemistry, is expected to be used for the manufacture of ultra-light components in space shuttles and automobiles.

Although the traditional form of aluminum crystal is a lighter metal, it will still be used after its spoon is placed in a water-filled sink because its density (2.7 g/cm3) is greater than the density of water (1 g/cm3). Sink to the bottom. The new crystal density obtained this time was only 0.61 g/cm3. Not only was the density significantly lower than traditional metallic aluminum, it also meant that it could float on water.

In the new study, the USU chemist Alexander Boldreeff led the team to perform a brand new design of aluminum metal at the molecular level, and obtained lighter ultra-light crystalline aluminum by computer simulation. Bordelev said: “We have completed this breakthrough in a very creative way – based on the well-known diamonds, replacing each of these carbon atoms with aluminum atoms, resulting in a diamond-like tetrahedral structure. Crystalline aluminum. After further calculations, we found that this is a very stable new ultra-light crystalline aluminum structure."

Due to its advantages of non-magnetic, corrosion-resistant, rich in content, relatively inexpensive, and easy to produce, this new ultra-light aluminum structure will be widely used in the development of lighter space shuttles and automotive parts in the future. Bordelev stated that although the strength and other properties of this material have yet to be further studied, it is still premature to speculate on how it will be used, but the biggest breakthrough of this discovery is that it provides an innovative method for designing new materials. . "Our innovation is that new materials can be designed based entirely on a known structure."