Regeneration of metal damage – it’s possible!
What are the causes of metal damage?
Researchers from American laboratories Sandia and Texas A&M University have discovered that the metal can regenerate itself. Using a specialized transmission electron microscope technique, they observed that on very small scales, a 40-nanometer-thick piece of platinum suspended in a vacuum self-repairs damage. Cracks, known as fatigue damage, appeared in the sample due to repeated stresses. After about 40 minutes of observation, the joining of the structure began at the place of the crack in the platinum.
Scientists can’t fully explain the phenomenon, but they suggest it may be caused by processes known as cold welding. Typically, thin layers of air or dirt interfere with this process. However, under vacuum conditions, clean metal surfaces can get close enough to “stick together”.
The results of the experiment can have a significant impact on the development of new materials and technologies. For example, they could lead to the development of new types of metals with improved damage resistance.
Metal can be destroyed by corrosion, abrasion, heat, chemicals or fatigue. Corrosion is a chemical process where metal reacts with oxygen, water or other chemicals, causing it to degrade. Abrasion is a mechanical process in which metal is abraded by other materials, causing it to wear. The temperature can cause the metal to deform or even melt. Low temperatures can cause metal embrittlement and cracking. The chemicals can corrode the metal or even dissolve it. Fatigue is the process by which metal fails due to repeated stress.
Appropriate preventive measures must be taken to protect the metal from damage. Preventive measures include:
- metal painting,
- protective coatings,
- proper storage.
The fact is, however, that none of the above preventive methods does not give 100% certainty that metal products will be durable. Let us therefore undertake research that will allow us to produce materials from extremely durable and indestructible metals.