Alexander Kuball, Benedikt Bochtler and Oliver Gross, three Ph.D. students at the Chair for Metallic Materials (LMW), have, in collaboration with Heraeus and after many unsuccessful attempts, managed to develop alloys that are both very strong and very lightweight. They consist mainly of titanium and sulfur, i.e. elements that are very common and industrially useful. And unlike amorphous metals based on zirconium, palladium or platinum, titanium is relatively inexpensive, as is sulfur, which is not as highly toxic as the beryllium or phosphorus commonly used in such alloys. The newly developed alloys are approximately twice as strong as customary titanium-based metals of the same density, i.e. the same weight.
In addition to the choice of the appropriate bond and the right composition - a difference of more or less 1% of a substance can be crucial to achieving or not achieving the desired properties - the manufacturing process was decisive: as the hot melt is cooled down in less than a second from above 1100°C, it solidifies as a “glass” and cannot take on a shape with regular crystal lattices. A patent has already been filed for the results and Heraeus has secured the exploitation rights.