Special Issue "Liquid Metals"

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A special issue of Metals (ISSN 2075-4701).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Maria Jose Caturla

Instituto Universitario de Materiales de Alicante, Departamento de Física Aplicada, Universidad de Alicante, Ap. 99, E-03080 Alicante, Spain
Interests: modelling materials at the atomic scale; molecular dynamics; kinetic Monte Carlo; modeling materials behavior far from equilibrium; irradiation andradiation damage of materials; shock propagation at the atomic scale; liquid-surface interactions; mechanical behavior of nanoscale systems
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Enrique Louis (Website)

Instituto Universitario de Materiales de Alicante, Departamento de Física Aplicada, Universidad de Alicante, Ap. 99, E-03080 Alicante, Spain
Interests: condensed matter theory; physical metallurgy; strongly correlated systems; organic conducting materials; model Hamiltonians; transport through molecules and nano-contacts; metal and graphite based composites showing high thermal performance; surface tension of metals and alloys
Guest Editor
Dr. Jose Miguel Molina

Instituto Universitario de Materiales de Alicante, Departamento de Física Aplicada, Universidad de Alicante, Ap. 99, E-03080 Alicante, Spain
Interests: wettability at high temperatures; metal-ceramic interfaces; surface tension of metals; metal matrix composite materials: processing and characterization; composites of high thermal conductivity; metallic foams; magnesium foams; carbon foams
Guest Editor
Prof. Jian-Zhong Jiang

International Center for New-Structured Materials (ICNSM), Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, 310027 Hangzhou, China
Phone: 8657187952107
Interests: disordered metals, including liquids and amorphous solids, from designing, characterization to properties; atomic structure, phase transformation, mechanical behavior of disordered metals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The aim of this special issue is to provide the most recent information on classical aspects of liquid metals and, at the same time, highlight recent discoveries that have greatly broadened the scope of technological applications of these materials. It is desirable that the issue starts with an article gathering most recent data on the main properties of liquid metals (free energy, viscosity, density, surface tension, etc.). This could be followed by classical articles of critical relevance, e.g., the structure of liquid metals. The combined use of synchrotron x-ray diffraction and molecular dynamics simulations is enabling investigation of the finer details of the structure of liquid metals. For instance, it has been found that in some liquid metals the inter–atomic distance contracts on heating, while at the same time coordination decreases. Improvements in understanding the physics of liquid metals are to a large extent due to the powerful theoretical tools now available to scientists. By this, we mainly refer to ab initio molecular dynamics calculations. An article on the fundamentals of this technique will be included in the special issue. Surface tension and wetting at metal/ceramic interfaces (experimental and theoretical) is an ongoing field of fundamental research with important technological implications. One issue which is not yet fully understood is the positive temperature coefficient of surface tension as shown by some liquid metals. Finally an article on liquid mercury will be welcome.

As regards recent discoveries, the most outstanding is perhaps the development of gallium alloys which are liquid at room temperature, and, due to the oxide layer covering the surface, maintain some “stiffness”. This has opened the possibility of 3D printing with liquid metals. A variety of families of liquid metallic alloys that form amorphous materials when solidified are expected to give rise to revolutionary technologies. The study of liquid metals under microgravity conditions is shedding light on several key aspects of solidification. The use of liquid metal solutions to produce greener crystalline silicon is expected to provide a practical way to produce this old but still essential material. The study of turbulent convection in liquid metals is becoming increasingly relevant in the field of Geophysics. A nano liquid metal is a suspension of liquid metal and its alloy containing nanometer-sized particles. Nano liquid metal at room temperature and its alloys were first introduced in the area of cooling high heat flux devices, which has now become a commercial reality. However, their applications are not reserved to in chip cooling but also can be extended to waste heat recovery, kinetic energy harvesting, thermal interface material, etc. This is mainly due to their diverse properties, such as the low melting point, high thermal and electrical conductivity, as well as other additional physical or chemical properties. Articles on these hot topics are invited for inclusion in this special issue.

Dr. Maria Jose Caturla
Dr. Enrique Louis
Dr. Jose Miguel Molina
Prof. Jian-Zhong Jiang
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Metals is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 800 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • structure of liquid metals.
  • ab-initio molecular dynamics calculations.
  • interfacial properties: wetting and surface tension.
  • positive surface tension temperature coefficient.
  • metallic gallium alloys liquid at room temperature (3d printing)
  • most outstanding families of liquid metal alloys: a revolutionary technology.
  • liquid metals under microgravity conditions.
  • use of liquid metals solutions to produce greener crystalline silicon.
  • geophysics: turbulent convection in liquid metals
  • nano liquid metals

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial Some Issues in Liquid Metals Research
Metals 2015, 5(4), 2128-2133; doi:10.3390/met5042128
Received: 10 November 2015 / Accepted: 10 November 2015 / Published: 13 November 2015
PDF Full-text (121 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The ten articles [1–10] included in this Special Issue on “Liquid Metals” do not intend to comprehensively cover this extensive field, but, rather, to highlight recent discoveries that have greatly broadened the scope of technological applications of these materials. Improvements in understanding [...] Read more.
The ten articles [1–10] included in this Special Issue on “Liquid Metals” do not intend to comprehensively cover this extensive field, but, rather, to highlight recent discoveries that have greatly broadened the scope of technological applications of these materials. Improvements in understanding the physics of liquid metals are, to a large extent, due to the powerful theoretical tools in the hands of scientists, either semi-empirical [1,5,6] or ab initio (molecular dynamics, see [7]). Surface tension and wetting at metal/ceramic interfaces is an everlasting field of fundamental research with important technological implications. The review of [2] is broad enough, as the work carried out at Grenoble covers almost all interesting matters in the field. Some issues of interest in geophysics and astrophysics are discussed in [3]. The recently discovered liquid–liquid transition in several metals is dealt with in [4]. The fifth contribution [5] discusses the role of icosahedral superclusters in crystallization. In [6], thermodynamic calculations are carried out to identify the regions of the ternary phase diagram of Al-Cu-Y, where the formation of amorphous alloys is most probable. Experimental data and ab initio calculations are presented in [7] to show that an optimal microstructure is obtained if Mg is added to the Al-Si melt before than the modifier AlP alloy. Shock-induced melting of metals by means of laser driven compression is discussed in [8]. With respect to recent discoveries, one of the most outstanding developments is that of gallium alloys that are liquid at room temperature [9], and that, due to the oxide layer that readily cover their surface, maintain some “stiffness”. This has opened the possibility of 3D printing with liquid metals. The last article in this Special Issue [10] describes nano-liquid metals, a suspension of liquid metal and its alloy containing nanometer-sized particles. A room-temperature nano-liquid metal and its alloys were first introduced in the area of cooling high heat flux devices, which now is a commercial reality. However, their applications are not only in chip cooling, and can also be extended to waste heat recovery, kinetic energy harvesting, thermal interface material, etc. This is mainly due to properties such as low melting point, high thermal and electrical conductivity, as well as other additional physical or chemical properties. These articles are summarized in more detail hereafter [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Metals)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Canonical Models of Geophysical and Astrophysical Flows: Turbulent Convection Experiments in Liquid Metals
Metals 2015, 5(1), 289-335; doi:10.3390/met5010289
Received: 25 July 2014 / Revised: 2 September 2014 / Accepted: 9 February 2015 / Published: 9 March 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (13108 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Planets and stars are often capable of generating their own magnetic fields. This occurs through dynamo processes occurring via turbulent convective stirring of their respective molten metal-rich cores and plasma-based convection zones. Present-day numerical models of planetary and stellar dynamo action are [...] Read more.
Planets and stars are often capable of generating their own magnetic fields. This occurs through dynamo processes occurring via turbulent convective stirring of their respective molten metal-rich cores and plasma-based convection zones. Present-day numerical models of planetary and stellar dynamo action are not carried out using fluids properties that mimic the essential properties of liquid metals and plasmas (e.g., using fluids with thermal Prandtl numbers Pr < 1 and magnetic Prandtl numbers Pm ≪ 1). Metal dynamo simulations should become possible, though, within the next decade. In order then to understand the turbulent convection phenomena occurring in geophysical or astrophysical fluids and next-generation numerical models thereof, we present here canonical, end-member examples of thermally-driven convection in liquid gallium, first with no magnetic field or rotation present, then with the inclusion of a background magnetic field and then in a rotating system (without an imposed magnetic field). In doing so, we demonstrate the essential behaviors of convecting liquid metals that are necessary for building, as well as benchmarking, accurate, robust models of magnetohydrodynamic processes in Pm ≪  Pr < 1 geophysical and astrophysical systems. Our study results also show strong agreement between laboratory and numerical experiments, demonstrating that high resolution numerical simulations can be made capable of modeling the liquid metal convective turbulence needed in accurate next-generation dynamo models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Metals)
Open AccessArticle The Effect of Mg Adding Order on the Liquid Structure and Solidified Microstructure of the Al-Si-Mg-P Alloy: An Experiment and ab Initio Study
Metals 2015, 5(1), 40-51; doi:10.3390/met5010040
Received: 1 October 2014 / Accepted: 19 December 2014 / Published: 26 December 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1798 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, the relationship between the liquid structure and the corresponding solidified microstructure of an Al-Si-Mg-P alloy was studied. Experimental results show that Mg can reduce the phosphorous-modification effect if it was added after adding Al-P alloy. However, when it is [...] Read more.
In this paper, the relationship between the liquid structure and the corresponding solidified microstructure of an Al-Si-Mg-P alloy was studied. Experimental results show that Mg can reduce the phosphorous-modification effect if it was added after adding Al-P alloy. However, when it is added before adding Al-P alloy, Mg has no effect on the phosphorous-modification. It is considered that the difference in liquid structure induced by changing the adding order of Mg should be responsible for the above phenomenon, and was investigated by ab initio molecular dynamics simulation (AIMD). It was believed that the high-active Mg atoms could bond P atoms to form P-Mg clusters and then reduce the modification effect of AlP, when pure Mg was added into the prepared Al-Si-P melt. When the pure Mg was added into Al-Si melt before adding Al-P alloy, the Mg atoms would be first occupied by Si atoms to form Mg-Si clusters, and thus lose the ability to eliminate P-Al clusters which dissolve into melt later, leading to a good phosphorous-modification effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Metals)
Open AccessArticle Estimating the Energy State of Liquids
Metals 2014, 4(4), 570-585; doi:10.3390/met4040570
Received: 23 October 2014 / Revised: 26 November 2014 / Accepted: 2 December 2014 / Published: 8 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (678 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In contrast to the gaseous and the solid states, the liquid state does not have a simple model that could be developed into a quantitative theory. A central issue in the understanding of liquids is to estimate the energy state of liquids. [...] Read more.
In contrast to the gaseous and the solid states, the liquid state does not have a simple model that could be developed into a quantitative theory. A central issue in the understanding of liquids is to estimate the energy state of liquids. Here, on the basis of our recent studies on crystal melting, we show that the energy sate of liquids may be reasonably approximated by the energy and volume of a vacancy. Consequently, estimation of the liquid state energy is significantly simplified comparing with previous methods that inevitably invoke many-body interactions. Accordingly, a possible equation for the state for liquids is proposed. On this basis, it seems that a simple model for liquids is in sight. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Metals)
Open AccessArticle Predicting Composition Dependence of Glass Forming Ability in Ternary Al-Cu-Y System by Thermodynamic Calculation
Metals 2014, 4(4), 519-529; doi:10.3390/met4040519
Received: 22 September 2014 / Revised: 14 October 2014 / Accepted: 10 November 2014 / Published: 21 November 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (808 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The composition dependence of glass forming ability in the ternary Al-Cu-Y system is predicted by thermodynamic calculations based on the Miedema’s model and Alonso’s method. By comparing the relative energetic status of the amorphous phase versus the solid solution phase, a hexagonal [...] Read more.
The composition dependence of glass forming ability in the ternary Al-Cu-Y system is predicted by thermodynamic calculations based on the Miedema’s model and Alonso’s method. By comparing the relative energetic status of the amorphous phase versus the solid solution phase, a hexagonal composition region that energetically favoring the metallic glass formation is predicted. The glass formation driving force and crystallization resistance are further calculated and the composition of Al72Cu10Y18 is pinpointed with the largest glass forming ability in the Al-Cu-Y system. The calculation results are well supported by the experimental observations reported in the literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Metals)
Open AccessArticle Laser Driven Compression to Investigate Shock-Induced Melting of Metals
Metals 2014, 4(4), 490-502; doi:10.3390/met4040490
Received: 19 September 2014 / Revised: 11 October 2014 / Accepted: 22 October 2014 / Published: 30 October 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2184 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
High pressure shock compression induces a large temperature increase due to the dissipation within the shock front. Hence, a solid sample subjected to intense shock loading can melt, partially or fully, either on compression or upon release from the shocked state. In [...] Read more.
High pressure shock compression induces a large temperature increase due to the dissipation within the shock front. Hence, a solid sample subjected to intense shock loading can melt, partially or fully, either on compression or upon release from the shocked state. In particular, such melting is expected to be associated with specific damage and fragmentation processes following shock propagation. In this paper, we show that laser driven shock experiments can provide a procedure to investigate high pressure melting of metals at high strain rates, which is an issue of key interest for various engineering applications as well as for geophysics. After a short description of experimental and analytical tools, we briefly review some former results reported for tin, then we present more recent observations for aluminum and iron. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Metals)
Open AccessArticle Production of Liquid Metal Spheres by Molding
Metals 2014, 4(4), 465-476; doi:10.3390/met4040465
Received: 1 August 2014 / Revised: 18 September 2014 / Accepted: 8 October 2014 / Published: 15 October 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (958 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This paper demonstrates a molding technique for producing spheres composed of eutectic gallium-indium (EGaIn) with diameters ranging from hundreds of microns to a couple millimeters. The technique starts by spreading EGaIn across an elastomeric sheet featuring cylindrical reservoirs defined by replica molding. [...] Read more.
This paper demonstrates a molding technique for producing spheres composed of eutectic gallium-indium (EGaIn) with diameters ranging from hundreds of microns to a couple millimeters. The technique starts by spreading EGaIn across an elastomeric sheet featuring cylindrical reservoirs defined by replica molding. The metal flows into these features during spreading. The spontaneous formation of a thin oxide layer on the liquid metal keeps the metal flush inside these reservoirs. Subsequent exposure to acid removes the oxide and causes the metal to bead up into a sphere with a size dictated by the volume of the reservoirs. This technique allows for the production and patterning of droplets with a wide range of volumes, from tens of nanoliters up to a few microliters. EGaIn spheres can be embedded or encased subsequently in polymer matrices using this technique. These spheres may be useful as solder bumps, electrodes, thermal contacts or components in microfluidic devices (valves, switches, pumps). The ease of parallel-processing and the ability to control the location of the droplets during their formation distinguishes this technique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Metals)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Crystallization of Supercooled Liquid Elements Induced by Superclusters Containing Magic Atom Numbers
Metals 2014, 4(3), 359-387; doi:10.3390/met4030359
Received: 30 April 2014 / Revised: 10 July 2014 / Accepted: 16 July 2014 / Published: 6 August 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (849 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A few experiments have detected icosahedral superclusters in undercooled liquids. These superclusters survive above the crystal melting temperature Tm because all their surface atoms have the same fusion heat as their core atoms, and are melted by liquid homogeneous and heterogeneous [...] Read more.
A few experiments have detected icosahedral superclusters in undercooled liquids. These superclusters survive above the crystal melting temperature Tm because all their surface atoms have the same fusion heat as their core atoms, and are melted by liquid homogeneous and heterogeneous nucleation in their core, depending on superheating time and temperature. They act as heterogeneous growth nuclei of crystallized phase at a temperature Tc of the undercooled melt. They contribute to the critical barrier reduction, which becomes smaller than that of crystals containing the same atom number n. After strong superheating, the undercooling rate is still limited because the nucleation of 13-atom superclusters always reduces this barrier, and increases Tc above a homogeneous nucleation temperature equal to Tm/3 in liquid elements. After weak superheating, the most stable superclusters containing n = 13, 55, 147, 309 and 561 atoms survive or melt and determine Tc during undercooling, depending on n and sample volume. The experimental nucleation temperatures Tc of 32 liquid elements and the supercluster melting temperatures are predicted with sample volumes varying by 18 orders of magnitude. The classical Gibbs free energy change is used, adding an enthalpy saving related to the Laplace pressure change associated with supercluster formation, which is quantified for n = 13 and 55. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Metals)
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Review

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Open AccessReview The Promising Features of New Nano Liquid Metals—Liquid Sodium Containing Titanium Nanoparticles (LSnanop)
Metals 2015, 5(3), 1212-1240; doi:10.3390/met5031212
Received: 5 January 2015 / Revised: 15 June 2015 / Accepted: 19 June 2015 / Published: 14 July 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (933 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A new kind of suspension liquid was developed by dispersing Ti nanoparticles (10 nm) in liquid Na, which was then determined by TEM (transmission electron microscopy) analysis. The volume fraction was estimated to be 0.0088 from the analyzed Ti concentration (2 at. [...] Read more.
A new kind of suspension liquid was developed by dispersing Ti nanoparticles (10 nm) in liquid Na, which was then determined by TEM (transmission electron microscopy) analysis. The volume fraction was estimated to be 0.0088 from the analyzed Ti concentration (2 at. %) and the densities of Ti and Na. This suspension liquid, Liquid Sodium containing nanoparticles of titanium (LSnanop), shows, despite only a small addition of Ti nanoparticles, many striking features, namely a negative deviation of 3.9% from the ideal solution for the atomic volume, an increase of 17% in surface tension, a decrease of 11% for the reaction heat to water, and the suppression of chemical reactivity to water and oxygen. The decrease in reaction heat to water seems to be derived from the existence of excess cohesive energy of LSnanop. The excess cohesive energy was discussed based on simple theoretical analyses, with particular emphasis on the screening effect. The suppression of reactivity is discussed with the relation to the decrease of heat of reaction to water or the excess cohesive energy, surface tension, the action as a plug of Ti oxide, negative adsorption on the surface of LSnanop, and percolation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Metals)
Open AccessReview Temperature-Induced Liquid-Liquid Transition in Metallic Melts: A Brief Review on the New Physical Phenomenon
Metals 2015, 5(1), 395-417; doi:10.3390/met5010395
Received: 30 November 2014 / Revised: 17 February 2015 / Accepted: 1 March 2015 / Published: 11 March 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1664 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Understanding the nature of liquid structures and properties remains an open problem for many fundamental and applied fields. It is well known that there is no other defined phase line above liquidus (TL) in phase diagrams of ordinary alloys. [...] Read more.
Understanding the nature of liquid structures and properties remains an open problem for many fundamental and applied fields. It is well known that there is no other defined phase line above liquidus (TL) in phase diagrams of ordinary alloys. However, via resorts of internal friction, electric resistivity, thermal analysis, X-ray diffraction, solidification, etc., the results of our research on lots of single- and multiple-component melts show a novel physical image: temperature induced liquid-liquid structure transition (TI-LLST) can occur above TL. Moreover, the solidification behaviors and structures out of the melts that experienced TI-LLST are distinct from those out of the melts before TI-LLST. In this paper, some typical examples of TI-LLST and characteristic aspects of the TI-LLST are briefly reviewed, in which the main contents are limited in our own achievements, although other groups have also observed similar phenomena using different methods. In the sense of phenomenology, TI-LLST reported here is quite different from other recognized liquid transitions, i.e., there are only a few convincing cases of liquid P, Si, C, H2O, Al2O3-Y2O3, etc. in which the transition occurs, either induced by pressure or at a supercooled state and near liquidus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Metals)
Open AccessReview Wetting by Liquid Metals—Application in Materials Processing: The Contribution of the Grenoble Group
Metals 2015, 5(1), 350-370; doi:10.3390/met5010350
Received: 4 February 2015 / Revised: 24 February 2015 / Accepted: 1 March 2015 / Published: 10 March 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1236 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The wettability of ceramics by liquid metals is discussed from both the fundamental point of view and the point of view of applications. The role of interfacial reactions (simple dissolution of the solid in the liquid or formation of a layer of [...] Read more.
The wettability of ceramics by liquid metals is discussed from both the fundamental point of view and the point of view of applications. The role of interfacial reactions (simple dissolution of the solid in the liquid or formation of a layer of a new compound) is illustrated and analysed. Several results are presented in order to illustrate the role of wettability in materials processing, namely infiltration processing, joining dissimilar materials by brazing and selecting crucibles for crystallising liquid metals and semiconductors. The review includes results obtained during the last 15 years mainly, but not only, by the Grenoble group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Metals)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

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