We have recently shown that processing pressures on the order of 1 atm (105 Pa) are sufficient to “blow mold” bulk metallic glasses where strains exceeding 1000 % can be achieved before the material crystallizes. As oppose to other processing methods blow molding eliminates friction, which drastically retards lateral strain. This has allow us to net-shape geometries that were previously not possible not only for BMG processing but through any metal processing. The future of this process can go beyond net-shaping of complex parts but can combine shaping, joining, and functionalizing of the surface in one processing step. This process may mark a new area in metal processing through combining the superb properties of metallic glasses with a processability, which is comparable to plastics.
Our current research focuses on understanding and controlling thinning, determining valid constitutive equation for the strain and temperature region of interest which will be used for modeling of the blow-molding characteristics and expand to multiscale features. In addition, we are exploring the limits in complexity, precision, size, and uniformity.