Researchers at Empa in Zurich Switzerland have successfully joined nanostructured aerospace grade aluminum alloys with a minimal loss in mechanical properties using nanotechnology. The authors outline in a communication to Advanced Materials how it is possible to braze and solder benignly ultrafine grain aluminum. Nanostructured reactive foils were used as local heat sources. These foils rapidly release thermal energy directly at the interface between two materials leading to a metallurgical joint. The heat affected zone and the duration of heating are substantially limited, which in turn minimizes damage to the bulk. This is a first in the literature and is extremely relevant to several industries that have been struggling with the problem of joining temperature-sensitive materials while avoiding grain growth. This oven-less joining demonstration increases the attractiveness of nanostructured aluminum alloys as lightweight replacements material for conventional alloys.
The recent emergence of graphene has generated a world-wide – and highly competitive – scientific enthusiasm, due to the extraordinary properties which are expected from graphene-based nano-objects and their derivatives. Its structural and chemical simplicity makes graphene a very convenient systems for fundamental research and for the development of nano-scale sciences. On the other hand, the numerous variations of the graphene based nano-objects allow a unique variability of properties (transport, mechanical, optical, chemical…) and an unusually high number of potential applications, spanning energy, nanoelectronics, or chemical industry. Graphene is also ideal for chemists who can modify its properties by functionalisation, grafting, adsorption and doping. Investigating graphene clearly requires the involvement of scientists in areas related to physics, chemistry, and materials sciences.
This growing interest, triggered by the numerous potential applications of graphene in future nanotechnology, motivates the creation of an interdisciplinary school on graphene. The school is aimed at PhD students, post-doctoral and young researchers in the first instance. The School is taking place in Cargèse, France from October 12 to October 22, 2010 at the Institut d’Etudes Scientifiques de Cargèse.