New Magnesium Sheet Process Targets Medical, Auto Applications

DN Staff

March 31, 2009

1 Min Read
New Magnesium Sheet Process Targets Medical, Auto Applications

Thixomatwill introduce a new magnesium sheet technology at the Society of AutomotiveEngineers Congress in Detroit, MI April 20 to 23. NanoMag is a newtechnology for fine-grain high-strength magnesium sheet with nanometer microstructuresfor automotive, aerospace and other applications.

Thixomatmakes the sheet by injecting magnesium alloys in a liquid state into a largecavity in an injection molding machine. The plate is then rolled and heattreated to achieve its final shape and mechanical properties.

"Theprocess, developed in conjunction with the Department of Material Science &Engineering at the University of Michigan and under thesponsorship of the National Science Foundation, offers numerous advantages inmaterial integrity and cost savings over any other product now available," saysSteve LeBeau, Thixomat's CEO. NanoMag is a subsidiary of Thixomat.

The key tothe NanoMag technology is its ability to create fine-grained strengthening ofmagnesium alloys at low cost through a process called the Thixomat Thermal MechanicalProcess, or TTMP. The net result is a magnesium sheet with properties similarto steel and with a comparable strength-to-density ratio as that of steel butat one quarter the weight.

NanoMag canbe used as a base material to the manufacture of fuel cells and electronicproducts. LeBeau believes the process also will gain wide acceptance in thebiomedical industry for temporary connecting pins and plates since magnesiumdissolves in the body with no adverse effects.

"We've learned that the density andstrength of NanoMag material is more like human bone than virtually any othercurrently popular implant materials," says LeBeau. Because of this, he sees thepossibility of the use of the process for biodegradable implants for hardtissue.

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