Newly-discovered metal alloy can shape-shift forever

A team of materials scientists at the University of Minnesota have discovered a metal alloy that can rearrange its crystalline structure almost indefinitely without damage.The substance, made of a mixture of zinc, gold and copper, is part of a family of…

A team of materials scientists at the University of Minnesota have discovered a metal alloy that can rearrange its

crystalline structure almost indefinitely without damage.The substance, made of a mixture of zinc, gold and copper, is
part of a family of metals known as martensites, which have the
ability to remember their shape and return to it after being
bent. Almost all martensite metals are made of a mixture of nickel and
titanium and have found applications in many fields including
aerospace, energy generation and agriculture. However, over time
they build up stresses inside which break them apart, so they must
be replaced. The newly-discovered alloy can change between states tens of
thousands of times without appreciable internal damage, opening up
a wide range of possibilities. “The real advance is to make the
transformations reversible that could be applied in many
situations,” Richard James, one of the authors of the study, told
the BBC. “You could make devices that convert heat to electricity
directly. They could use the waste heat from computers and cell
phones to recharge the battery and make them more efficient.”

The technology will now be applied to create a family of ceramic
solids that can also shape-shift back and forth.