Creating the World’s Strongest Aluminum and More on Industrial Magnetron Sputtering

Aluminum has thousands of possible applications. It’s flexible, lightweight, and inexpensive to produce. But what aluminum typically is not – at least, until now – is strong.

However, researchers at Purdue University have found a way to  .

The high-strength, lightweight aluminum allow has the potential to revolutionize and automobile and aerospace industries. It could be used as a corrosion-resistant coating for electronic devices and vehicles, along with many other possible applications. Researchers are only beginning to test the limits of this new technology.

What is Magnetron Sputtering?

Although used to produce many common technologies, including touch screens, many people aren’t aware of what this technology can do. So, what is the magnetron sputtering system?

Magnetron sputtering is an industrial manufacturing technique that uses magnetic fields to coat the surface of a material with a thin metal coating. It uses closed magnetic fields in a vaccum chamber to spread a conductive or non-conductive metallic material over the surface of the substrate using plasma vapour deposition, or PVD. When positively-charged ions accelerate and contact the metal, ions fly from the target to the substrate and coat it with a consistent layer of molecules.

In this case, the Purdue University researchers used magnetron sputtering to alter the microsctructure of aluminum in order to make it stronger. Like all metals, aluminum is made up of layers and layers of crystal atoms stacked atop each other. When there are two missing layers called “nanotwins”, it can make the metal stronger. The same can occur when the fault creates a structure that repeats over nine layers, called a 9R phase.

Xingham Zhang, an author on the study, describes the new material. “The formation of the 9R phase in aluminum is even more difficult because of its high stacking fault energy. You want to introduce both nanotwins and 9R phase in nanograined aluminum to increase strength and ductility and improve thermal stability.”

The researchers demonstrate the outcome in this video.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever


The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” The ocean is a magic place. It is massive to the point that we humans have never even seen the bottom of it. It’s incredible to think about how we have explored outer space without even knowing about how the sea works. We are still discovering sea creatures till this day! There are no bounds to how many unique and interesting mechanisms of biology exist. I prefer to discuss tropical fish but there are also interesting and unique arctic organisms as well as many unique deep sea fish.

One of the most challenging parts of exploring the ocean is well… the depth and lack of oxygen. It can be very expensive to explore the ocean and without substantial research grants or funding through big oil or gas companies, it is unlikely that many interesting areas of the ocean will be explored. Now that automated technologies are increasing in popularity, like the self driving car, it may be feasible to create ocean going, fully automated drones that are set to go off and explore the ocean and it’s deepest and darkest points. Sending data back to the main hub will be a difficult challenge, however it’s not one that comes without its benefits. There are already some drones that do things underwater like uwild inspections services, however these are typically tethered to a central point out of the water.  By implementing ocean going drones that can automatically share data we will dramatically increase the amounts of the ocean that are being covered and explored. This is one of the best parts of drones and automation technology- it is going to make tasks that once were considered massive undertakings (such as mapping the ocean floor) and make them into extremely reasonable and completely doable functions.

One of my favorite examples of exploration before drones were popular is the conshelf project built by Jaques Cousteau. The conshelf project (2) was built in the shallow, tropical waters off of Sudan, on a pristine tropical reef that housed fish and other tropical corals and truly allowed biologists and scientists to study ocean creatures without surfacing for over a month at a time. This was a monumental achievement in biological sciences and helped pave the way for development of space environments for potential long distance outer space travel. Are you are ever looking for some underwater inspection? Check out This company produces some of the best tethered underwater exploration devices I have ever seen.

Deep Sea Diving


Have you always wondered about the deep side of the Earth?  What we’re talking about is the gigantic underwater world that makes up for 71% of the Earth’s surface.  Crazy, isn’t it?  It’s also crazy how little we know and understand of more than two thirds of the Earth.  This blog will be dedicated to the discovery and exploration of the underwater world.

In order to be able to study the deep, dark depths of the ocean, we need proper gear and equipment.  These include drones, helmet diving suits, submarines, diving vessels, and much more.  Although we spend a ton of money on these tools, we still don’t know much about the ocean.  Diving equipment was introduced in the 17th century so that fishermen could stay underwater for longer in order to catch more fish.  This invention has led to the study of the ocean which has in turn introduced the discovery of the underwater world.  There are thousands of species down there – as far as we know.

The use of deep sea diving to study the ocean is important for many reasons.  First, it helps us understand the ecosystem which aids us in analyzing the structure of our world.  Second, it gives us a firm understanding of geology, chemistry, biology, and more.  Third, the things we find down under are just really cool!  So stay tuned for more information on interesting findings in the deep, dark sea.