Nanoarchitected metal/ceramic interpenetrating phase composites

Bauer, Jens; Sala-Casanovas, Martí; Amiri, Mahsa; Valdevit, Lorenzo

Science Advances 8 (2022)

Architected metals and ceramics with nanoscale cellular designs, e.g., nanolattices, are currently subject of extensive investigation. By harnessing extreme material size effects, nanolattices demonstrated classically inaccessible properties at low density, with exceptional potential for superior lightweight materials. This study expands the concept of nanoarchitecture to dense metal/ceramic composites, presenting co-continuous architectures of three-dimensional printed pyrolytic carbon shell reinforcements and electrodeposited nickel matrices. We demonstrate ductile compressive deformability with elongated ultrahigh strength plateaus, resulting in an extremely high combination of compressive strength and strain energy absorption. Simultaneously, property-to-weight ratios outperform those of lightweight nanolattices. Superior to cellular nanoarchitectures, interpenetrating nanocomposites may combine multiple size-dependent characteristics, whether mechanical or functional, which are radically antagonistic in existing materials. This provides a pathway toward previously unobtainable multifunctionality, extending far beyond lightweight structure applications.