Cement can be turned into liquid metal: Scientists

Cement can be turned into liquid metal: Scientists

Scientists have discovered the formula for turning liquid cement into liquid metal that makes cement a semi-conductor and opens up the possibility of its use in the consumer electronics, marketplace for thin films, protective coatings, and computer chips.

This new material has lots of applications, including as thin-film resistors used in liquid-crystal displays, basically the flat panel computer monitor that you are probably reading this from at the moment, said Chris Benmore, a physicist from the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory who worked with a team of scientists from Japan, Finland and Germany.

Benmore and Shinji Kohara from Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute/SPring-8 led the research effort. This change demonstrates a unique way to make metallic-glass material, which has positive attributes including better resistance to corrosion than traditional metal, less brittleness than traditional glass, conductivity, low energy loss in magnetic fields, and fluidity for ease of processing and molding.

Previously, only metals have been able to transition to a metallic-glass form. Cement does this by a process called electron trapping, a phenomena only previously seen in ammonia solutions. Understanding how cement joined this exclusive club opens the possibility of turning other solid normally insulating materials into room-temperature semiconductors.

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