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New Quasicrystal-Based Composites


New Quasicrystal-Based Composite Materials for Industrial Applications

Tech Area / Field

  • MAT-COM/Composites/Materials

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
MISIS (Steel and Alloys), Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • Kurchatov Research Center, Russia, Moscow


  • VictorReinz, Dana Corp., USA, Lisle\nUniversity of Oxford / Department of Engineering Science, UK, Oxford\nFrenzelit-Werke GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, Bad Berneck\nUniversity of Quebec, Canada, QC, Montreal

Project summary

Quasicrystals are the novel class of solids which possess the aperiodic long range ordering. Quasicrystals differ radically from traditional crystalline materials because they have rotational symmetry which is incompatible with periodicity (translational symmetry). Because of their crystallographic structure, quasicrystals possess the abnormally low electrical and heat conduction, unusual optical and magnetic properties, extremely low friction coefficient and surface energy. High strength, hardness, wear and corrosion resistance are characteristic for quasicrystals up to high temperatures. The other interesting feature of quasicrystals is high stability under radiation. That gives a very wide and promising industrial applications of these materials. For instance, multilayered optical filters on the base of icosahedral quasicrystals are potential candidates for application as selective absorbers of solar radiation in solar energy industry. Due to unique combination of physical properties, quasicrystals are the promising material for potential applications in aircraft and automotive technologies as thermal-barrier coatings of metallic details, friction parts, contacts and so on. Composite materials polymer/quasicrystal have good mechanical properties side by side with no essential abrasing effect in tribological situation and may be therefore successfully used in numerous applications with minimized wear, like bearing parts, gear wheels or hip joint prosthetic devices.

The obstacles for wider industrial applications of quasicrystalline materials are of technological nature and associated with the difficult metallurgy and the extreme sensitivity of properties to chemical composition and sample heat treatment and the lack of data on mechanical and physical properties of quasicrystal-based composite materials.

The investigations in the framework of the Project will be performed along three main directions as indicated below:

I. Quasicrystalline films. The technology for production of quasicrystalline films Al-Cu-Fe and multilayered optical filters dielectric/quasicrystal/dielectric on different substrate layers will be developed.

II. Quasicrystalline coatings. The technology of coating of metallic components by quasicrystalline materials on the base of Al-Cu-Fe doped with transition metals will be developed and properties of this kind of coatings will be investigated.

III. Composite materials polymer/quasicrystal, soft metal/quasicrystal and two-phase alloys. The new composite materials (1) based on fine particles of icosahedral Al-Cu-Fe phase uniformly distributed in polymer matrix or (2) introduced onto the surface layer of soft metals, and (3) two-phase aluminium-based alloys with quasicrystalline inclusions will be dveloped and investigated.

Scope of Activities

1. Theoretical analysis of optimal techniques for production of powder and thin-film quasicrystal-based materials; phase diagrams analysis; search for optimal chemical composition of films, coatings and powders of quasicrystalline materials.

2. Development of technology and equipment for making the initial mixture for sputtering and quasicrystalline powders production.

3. Experimental search for optimal technological parameters of ion-plasma and magnetron sputtering processes; experimental search for mechano-activative technology for production of powders with required properties.

4. Production of pilot film and powder samples; experimental structural and phase investigations.

5. Optimization of technological regimes for ion-plasma and magnetron sputtering of films and mechano-activative technology for production of powders drawing on gained experience during stages 2-4. Production of films and powders and their physical properties characterization.

6. Development of technology and equipment for production of coatings and composites polymer/quasicrystal and soft metal/quasicrystal. Search for technological regimes of mixing polymer powders and Al-Cu-Fe quasicrystal powder. Search for technological regime of Al-Cu-Fe quasicrystal powder loading into surface layer of soft metals. Refinement of technolgical parameters of two-phase alloys production by means of powders hot extrusion.

7. Production of test samples of coatings, composites and two-phase alloys; microstructural and phase study; optimization of technological regimes of their production.

8. Production of pilot samples of coatings, composites and two-phase alloys; study for their mechanical, physical and tribological properties.

9. Development of technological documentation for industrial-scale production.

Expected Results and their Application

1. Results of theoretical study of optimal techniques for production of quasicrystal-based composites with properties required by industrial customers on the base of phase diagrams analysis; recommendations on optimal chemical composition of films, coatings and powders of quasicrystalline materials.

2. Pilot samples of films of icosahedral phase Al-Cu-Fe and multilayered filters for solar energetics and their properties characterization.

3. Pilot samples of quasicrystalline coatings for industrial applications in various areas of mechanical engineering and machine-building, as well as space and medicine technics and their properties characterization.

4. Pilot samples of composite materials based on polymer matrices filled by quasicrystalline powders such as soft metal/quasicrystal and two-phase aluminium-based alloys reinforced with quasicrystal particles for applications in machine-building and medicine technics and their properties characterization.

The project team includes high-skilled staff of Moscow State Institute of Steel and Alloys (Technological University) and Institute of Superconductivity and Solid State Physics of Russian Scientific Center “Kurchatov Institute”, including Doctors of Science and Candidates of Science, having large past experience of mass-destruction weapons production.


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