N-metal analysis shows the first time a non-metal is used to cut an object
An analysis of the structure of the non-metallic alloy that made the famous razor blades of the 1970s shows it has a higher energy per unit area than a metal that can be used as a cutting tool.
The new work was presented in a paper published in the journal Science by scientists at the University of Oxford and the University at Buffalo, who discovered that the nonferrous aluminium alloy has the same structure as a metal used in other cutting applications.
The results also suggest that non-magnetic materials could one day be used to replace non-fibrous metals used in cutting devices such as metal cutting blades.
N-Metal Analysis in the Cutting ToolThe researchers first discovered that nonferous aluminium and non-fluorine aluminium had different shapes, which they compared to those of ferrous metals.
“The nonferious aluminium is more like a glass,” said Dr David Anderson, the senior author on the study and a lecturer in applied physics at the university.
“We can see that it has an extra volume, which is really unusual for an alloy.”
So the question is: why does it have an extra structure?
“It has to do with the way it is treated by the materials.”
N-Mines, or N-methanes, are non-porous compounds composed of atoms that form a double bond, which bonds the two atoms together.
“When we look at N-mesoporous materials, we can see a lot of the carbon atoms in them have this double bond and are therefore very stable,” said Anderson.
“However, non-mercurial aluminium has a very different behaviour.”
If you look at the carbon in the aluminium, it is much more likely to react to other compounds, such as hydrogen.
“This could be the reason why the carbon has such a different structure.”
Using electron microscopy, the researchers compared the structure and composition of the aluminium with other materials that could be used for cutting tools.
“Nonferrous metallic materials are not as good at detecting changes in the structure or properties of a material as they are for its structural properties,” said Professor David Tannock, a professor of applied physics and head of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the School of Chemical Engineering at the universities of Oxford, Buffalo and Durham.
“But these are still useful because they are able to tell us the properties of the material.”
In this case, we were able to demonstrate that the structure in the material is not a direct reflection of the properties.
“It was actually really interesting because it showed that the different properties of different metal oxides could be measured in different ways, and this can be very useful for assessing a material’s ability to cut.”
Dr Anderson said that the findings are consistent with the idea that nonmetal oxide is better at cutting materials.
“A lot of these materials are used for various applications, such a medical instrument, which means that if we want to see a particular type of material used for something, we need to be able to measure it with electron microscopes,” he said.
“That means we can look at it in a certain way and be able predict what the properties are going to be.”
For example, the team looked at nonferrum oxide, a form of nonferric oxide, which has a lower energy per molecule, compared to the ferric oxide that is used in many other cutting tools such as knives and scissors.
“For many different applications, you would use different materials,” said Prof Tannocks.
“One would use a cutting material such as a knife or a scissors, the other would use the cutting material that has a high melting point and is much softer than the cutting materials that are being used now.”
Both of these things can affect the way the material behaves.
“You would use it to cut things that are a little harder, for example.
So it is important to know that we are using a good material when we use a nonferring material.
This new study shows that the metal oxide aluminium is actually the best for cutting a material like a knife and scissors, which are used in a lot more applications than just cutting them.”
The research was published in a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society (ACS).