October 13, 2009
Hollow Metal Spheres
Producing metallic hollow spheres is complicated: It has not yet been possible to make the small sizes required for new high-tech applications. Now for the first time researchers have manufactured ground hollow spheres measuring just two to ten millimeters.
New drive technologies combined with lighter and stronger materials will make the airplanes and automobiles of the future more fuel-efficient. But a number of technical details need to be resolved first. Magnetic ball valves are one example "“ for them to react extremely quickly, the balls must be as light as possible, and the same applies to rapidly moving bearings. Hollow spheres made of steel represent a solution.
Göhler sees applications for the technique wherever a low mass inertia is required. "Hollow spheres will create applications which have not been possible up to now," Göhler states. The scientists have already produced ground spheres made of steel, other metals such as titanium and various alloys are envisaged for the future.
Image Caption: Hollow spheres made of ground steel, measuring just two to ten millimeters. (Ã© Fraunhofer IFAM)
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