Anatomy of Next: Christina Lomasney // Material Advance, Part Two

  • Modumetal is producing a new class of metals. We are producing a class of metals called nanolayered alloys. We use electricity instead of heat to make metals. We take raw materials and turn them directly into parts without producing intermediates that require reprocessing. 

  • We are making these nanoscale layers. Layers allow us to impart performance characteristics that wouldn’t exist in homogeneous materials. 

  • Homogeneous materials are used because there is a bulk material with some property to it. Like strength or hardness. Nano layer materials are different. You have an interface that allows you to interweave materials that have different performance characteristics. For example, you could have one layer that is really hard and another layer that is elastic. You can get a balance of properties that is impossible to achieve in a homogeneous material

  • Your bones are an example of a nanolayered structure. Bones are very efficient from a weight-bearing standpoint. Bones are lightweight but hard to break. Bones are simultaneously strong, tough, and can absorb energy. 

  • Corrosion is the cause of failure for a lot of our infrastructure. Imagine a world where that infrastructure could last generations. We are making alternative materials that can last 30 times longer. [This video shows an example of these materials.] 

  • There are applications of Modumetal that we can’t imagine. Just like Charles Martin Hall [the inventor of the process to produce inexpensive aluminum] couldn’t have imagined that one day we would be flying aircraft made of aluminum

  • The advantage that Modumetal has: The definition of perfectly efficient manufacturing is being able to go from raw material to the part that you have envisioned, with the performance characteristics that you require, in a single step. That is what Electroforming uniquely affords. We are much more efficient. 

  • The engineer of the future isn’t going to be sitting at a desk in an office, building some commodity products over and over again. It might be someone sitting in their garage making something radically different. The more we can make the technology accessible, the better. 

  • Full podcast here.