New ‘shape-shifting’ metal developed by US scientists
Scientists in the USA have developed a new form of shape-shifting metal, it has been announced.
The metal crystal can switch between different arrangements of atoms, allowing it to change shape up to 16,000 times and return to its original form after being heated and cooled.
A metal alloy with a crystalline structure
Known as a martensite, it is a metal alloy with a crystalline structure and has been made from a precise combination of gold, copper and zinc.
The new material has been developed by scientists at the University of Minnesota and was first reported in weekly science journal Nature.
Head of the research team, professor Richard D James, told the BBC that the new alloy could have a range of commercial uses, including in the manufacture of refrigerators, making quieter jet engines, creating automatic solar panels and developing greenhouse window-openers.
Further advancements in the technology could make the transformations reversible, meaning the material could also be used for converting heat directly to electricity, for example using waste heat from electronic devices to automatically recharge their batteries.