Processing of Bulk Metallic Glass



Bulk metallic glass (BMG) formers are multicomponent alloys that vitrify with remarkable ease during solidification. Technological interest in these materials has been generated by their unique properties, which often surpass those of conventional structural materials. The metastable nature of BMGs, however, has imposed a barrier to broad commercial adoption, particularly where the processing requirements of these alloys conflict with conventional metal processing methods. Research on the crystallization of BMG formers has uncovered novel thermoplastic forming (TPF)-based processing opportunities. Unique among metal processing methods, TPF utilizes the dramatic softening exhibited by a BMG as it approaches its glass-transition temperature and decouples the rapid cooling required to form a glass from the forming step. This article reviews crystallization processes in BMG former and summarizes and compares TPF-based processing methods. Finally, an assessment of scientific and technological advancements required for broader commercial utilization of BMGs will be made.