Developing a Pulsed Electric Current Sintering Process for the Formation of Amorphous Tungsten Matrix Composite
Amorphous metals are often referred to as metallic glasses because they have a disordered structure on the atomic level, similar to glasses, while still retaining their metallic properties. The first reported metallic glass was produced in the 1960s by extremely rapid cooling to avoid crystallization. The goal of this project is to produce an amorphous alloy that is extremely strong, has high toughness, resists abrasion, has tunable density and has a tunable degree of shear localization. Tungsten was chosen to be the main alloying component because of its advanced mechanical properties and high density. Amorphous powders will be produced by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and researchers at Boise State University will develop a process that uses pulsed electric current sintering to consolidate the powders. Pulsed electric current sintering is a process that combines electric current and high pressures to enhance the densification of the powders. Once the powders have been successfully consolidated, x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy, and high resolution transmission electron microscopy will be used to characterize the phases, phase compositions, porosity, and microstructure.