Borrowing a method from the field of drug discovery, a team of researchers has developed a material that combines the best properties of ceramics, metals and plastics.

The material, an alloy of iridium, nickel and tantalum, is a bulk metallic glass, an amorphous material made from complex, multicomponent alloys. It has the strength of a ceramic, one of the hardest known materials on Earth and many times stronger than steel. But unlike ceramics, it’s ductile and conductive like metals and it can be molded like a plastic.

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