Testing their metal

A new strong, but low-density metal composite material based on silicon carbide nanoparticles distributed uniformly in magnesium-zinc alloy has been developed by a team at Missouri University of Science and Technology. The material could have a wide range of applications in improved energy efficiency in aerospace and automobile technology as well as in mobile electronics and medical devices. The nanoscopic dispersion precludes the clumping together of particles observed in other attempts to strengthen metal alloys with ceramics. The approach is scalable but work must now focus on how to take the technology to the level of bulk manufacturing before real-world applications can be realized.