New Scientist, 13 December 2017 – While metalworking has always been a profession, there is growing interest in the potential use of carbon-based alloying and composite materials in various applications.
Metalworking is also an industry that has traditionally been a highly-skilled occupation, and so is often viewed as a very low-skill occupation.
But there is some evidence to suggest that skilled workers have a greater ability to make better-quality metal.
Researchers have found that when metalworkers use carbon-free metal alloying or carbon-conformal composite materials, they have better mechanical properties, higher mechanical strength and better toughness, compared to workers who use a mix of metal and other materials.
The researchers say their findings suggest that these composites and metal alloyed materials could be more effective for certain applications, such as metal-free electronics and other applications that involve high temperatures.
Metal-free, carbon-tipped, carbon dioxide-free and other types of carbon steel are often used in industrial applications, but the researchers say that the research shows that carbon-infused steel has a greater effect on the properties of metals that are naturally found in nature, such that it is the preferred metal alloy for a wide range of applications.
“Our research suggests that carbon alloyed metals can be used for different purposes in metalworking, such [as] aerospace and automotive applications,” said co-author Dr Jana Ziegler from the Max Planck Institute for Metallurgy and Metallurgy Research in Mainz, Germany.
“The main advantage of the carbon-tin-carbon composite alloying is that it has no metallic impurities.
The carbon-carbon alloy also is an effective conductor of heat, as it is a conductor of a specific kind of heat.”
Dr Zieglers team analysed the properties and properties of a range of carbon and metal-influenced composite materials that were either used to manufacture carbon or carbon alloy, and measured their mechanical properties.
The team compared the properties between the carbon steel alloy used for the carbon metal-tinted composite material, and the carbon alloy used in other applications.
For example, the researchers tested the metal-tin alloy in the car industry.
The metal-iron alloy was used in the aerospace industry.
When compared to the carbon iron alloy, the carbon tin-carbon material had better mechanical strength, better toughness and better mechanical conductivity.
“Compared to the aluminium alloy, which has very low thermal conductivity, the metal tin-iron composites were more effective in resisting corrosion and improving corrosion resistance,” said Dr Zielens team.
The results are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The research also shows that metal-containing composite materials are superior to carbon-containing composites when it comes to performance and toughness.
“These composites are more effective at improving properties of the metals they are used in,” said lead author Dr Markus Poulsen from the Technical University of Denmark.
“When the metal is used to make composite materials it does not affect the properties, so these composite have much higher properties than the carbon metals, which are mainly used for strength and toughness.”
Dr Poulsens team has been working on the composites for a few years.
“We started with an aluminium alloy and then worked out how to make a metal alloy from the alloy,” he said.
“Then we looked for an alternative to aluminium, which is used in automotive components.
We found a metal that was suitable for automotive applications, which we call carbon steel.”
Dr Martin Henningsen, head of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the Technical and Physical Laboratory at the University of Copenhagen, said the research was a very interesting finding that had great implications for the design of composite materials for applications.
Dr Hennsens said that the researchers have been using carbon-steel-based composite materials and composite-infusing processes for more than 20 years.
“These composite materials were first developed in the 1980s, but have been used for more or less the same applications for almost 20 years now,” he explained.
“This is a really good result because the composite material used in our studies is very similar to the original materials.”
“In the automotive industry, composites like aluminium and carbon steel have been successfully used for some applications in the past,” he added.
“And we think that these materials can be improved to be more useful in the automotive sector.”
Dr Hinningsen said that composites such as carbon-metal-tungsten-tetrafluoroacrylate (CMTAF) have a long history in the industry, which dates back to the 1930s.
The CMTAF composites have been around for many years, but it was only in recent years that the materials have been commercially developed.
“So we are very excited to be able to see the compositing of carbon metal with carbon metal tetrafluoride,” he told New Scientist.
“It will be a good improvement in compositing materials for automotive and aerospace applications