Chill zone copper with the strength of stainless steel and tailorable color

A. R. Yavari, K. Ota, K. Georgarakis, A. LeMoulec, F. Charlot, G. Vaughan, A. L. Greer, A. Inoue

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    We report here on 90 at.% copper 2-4 mm thick castings with fracture strengths up to 1.9 MPa due to the formation of a thick, scratch-resistant nanocrystalline chill-zone next to the copper mold contact surfaces. It is found that the unusually hard nanocrystalline surface layers of thicknesses in the range of 200-300 μm form when the melt can be undercooled: when the alloy composition is such that the contact surface of the copper mold with the liquid alloy does not serve as a preferred site for crystal nucleation, supercooling of the melt in the chill-zone is possible. These castings are the hardest coppers ever reported to date in macroscopic specimens. They have mechanical strength superior to those of many stainless steels as well as to Cu-Be alloys and of the order of those of Cu-based bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) of similar dimensions. In addition, and unlike in copper-based BMGs, the color and luster can be tailored by elemental additions to vary from copper-like to gold-like.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1830-1839
    Number of pages10
    JournalActa Materialia
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2008 May 1


    • Casting
    • Copper
    • Eutectic solidification
    • Mechanical properties
    • Nucleation of phase transformations

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
    • Ceramics and Composites
    • Polymers and Plastics
    • Metals and Alloys


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