Intermetallics could be the key to faster jets and more efficient car engines. But these heat-resistant, lightweight compounds have stumped scientists for decades. Why do so many break so easily? A team from Brown University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and UES Inc. used the world’s most powerful electron microscope to see, for the first time, atomic details that may provide the answer for the most common class of intermetallics. Their results – which could open the door for new materials for commercial use – are published in the current issue of Science.
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