Many industrial applications require materials with remarkable and sometimes contradictory properties. Let us mention a few examples. In the field of biomaterials (dental implants), micromechanics (gears) or in the field of jewelry or watches (luxury watches), a need is felt very clearly: That of materials that are both hard, wear resistant, biocompatible, possess a high yield strength, while being deformable. However, such ‘‘ideal'' materials do not exist at present, and hence the numerous ongoing research being reported in this field. Polymers are easy to use and deformable but not mechanically resistant; ceramics are very hard but often brittle, metals can be deformable but they are, in this case, characterized by ordinary mechanical properties.
It is well known that metallic glasses have a great potential for industrial applications. In general, metallic glasses possess high strength, high elastic limits, excellent corrosion resistance, and thermoplastic formability compared to crystalline materials. This combination of structural and functional properties makes them potential candidates for applications where the use of conventional materials has reached a limit of effectiveness.
This chapter addresses the history of bulk metallic glasses, their thermal stability, and their most attractive properties. Some examples of industrial applications are given.
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