Magnesium Alloy

- Dr Zhuoran Zeng

Formable magnesium following extrusion and rolling.

Magnesium is a common but mighty metal. Not only is it abundant in the earth, but it can also be readily produced from seawater. When used as an alloy, it creates exciting possibilities for creating more energy efficient and lightweight materials.

Magnesium is the planet’s lightest structural metal, with a high strength-to-density ratio. These unique features make it a promising candidate for substituting steel and aluminium alloys for more energy efficient applications – such as in the automotive industry, where magnesium can help produce lightweight, fuel-efficient cars with lower emissions.

At Monash University, considerable achievements have been made in developing high-performance magnesium alloys over the past two decades. Intrinsically brittle magnesium has been tailored to be super-formable at room temperature (i.e. like foil). Cost-effective but weaker magnesium alloys have been redesigned to be extraordinarily strong.

Taking advantage of advanced characterisation facilities, the composition-processing-microstructure-properties relationship of magnesium has been established and the origin of high-strength and super-formability has been revealed, providing an important new avenue for designing and developing novel magnesium products.

Excerpts and photographs from this article also feature in the Monash Materials Science and Engineering 50th Anniversary Book

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