Processing metallic glasses by selective laser melting
Metallic glasses and their descendants, the so-called bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), can be regarded as frozen liquids with a high resistance to crystallization. The lack of a conventional structure turns them into a material exhibiting near-theoretical strength, low Young's modulus and large elasticity. These unique mechanical properties can be only obtained when the metallic melts are rapidly cooled to bypass the nucleation and growth of crystals. Most of the commonly known and used processing routes, such as casting, melt spinning or gas atomization, have intrinsic limitations regarding the complexity and dimensions of the geometries. Here, it is shown that selective laser melting (SLM), which is usually used to process conventional metallic alloys and polymers, can be applied to implement complex geometries and components from an Fe-base metallic glass. This approach is in principle viable for a large variety of metallic alloys and paves the way for the novel synthesis of materials and the development of parts with advanced functional and structural properties without limitations in size and intricacy.