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.

Geometries that are unachievable with any other metal process can be net-shaped by blow molding a parison of bulk metallic glass.

Geometries that are unachievable with any other metal process can be net-shaped by blow molding a parison of bulk metallic glass.

Bulk metallic glasses can be net-shaped into complex shapes through blow molding. The low pressure and processing temperature allows the use of mold materials typically used for rapid prototyping whereby custom shaped articles can be precisely and inexpensively fabricated.

Bulk metallic glasses can be net-shaped into complex shapes through blow molding. The low pressure and processing temperature allows the use of mold materials typically used for rapid prototyping whereby custom shaped articles can be precisely and inexpensively fabricated.

The traditional processing steps of shaping, joining, and finishing can be combined into one process through blow molding of bulk metallic glasses.

The traditional processing steps of shaping, joining, and finishing can be combined into one process through blow molding of bulk metallic glasses.

Blow molding of bulk metallic glass can also be used to fabricate miniature hollow shapes. We explore this for MEMS packaging, for 3D resonator shells, and for sensors.

Blow molding of bulk metallic glass can also be used to fabricate miniature hollow shapes. We explore this for MEMS packaging, for 3D resonator shells, and for sensors.