While we have the goal of low cost in most of our alloy families, we also have done really interesting (and pretty) work with these noble metals (resistant to chemical corrosion and typically found in nature in their raw forms, vs oxides or other).
We used these elements in early study of deformation mechanisms in compositionally-complex alloys because as noble metals they are more "well-behaved" than others (e.g. some of the transition elements in our industrially-relevant alloys and published a computational paper as well as several student conference posters. This work is helping us now to test methods that we propose for predicting ductility in new lead-free brass alloys.
In early experimental work, we combined platinum and pallidium with one or more of cobalt, nickel, iron and chromium to form alloys for which we have an international patent pending. One of the applications mentioned in the patent is jewelery, but more interestingly we are continuing to explore the possibilities of these alloys as catalysts.
In an experimental and computational project that was more scientific than engineering-application focused, we demonstrated that with combinations of precious metal and rare earth elements we could create ductile alloys with a crystal structure that is typically brittle ("B2" which is an ordered body centered cubic structure. "Ordered" means that on the BCC lattice there is an organized pattern of atomic species. A disordered alloy has the same lattice but random placement of the elements.) Experimental work led to conference posters, and a journal paper is still to come, and computational work led to a published paper and more conference posters, including a Best Undergraduate Poster prize at TMS in 2020.
We also have done work to produce colored gold alloys for jewelery applications. The picture on the main page shows variation in color with composition, but we haven't just make pink and orange - there have been greens, blues and purples too! (Not all stable over time, though). It's super interesting to try to understand what makes typically silvery or gold colored alloys have other colors. These aren't surface oxides, they are bulk color! A large Swiss jewelery company has been interested in this work.
Laspa Fellows: Josh Sanz '15 (engineering), Shifrah Aron-Dine '16 (physics), Philip Jahl '16 (physics), Allison Lim '16 (chemistry), Lucy Kaye '17, (engineering), Jonas Kaufman '17 (physics), Bailey Meyer '18 (engineering), Kyla Scott '18 (engineering), Emily Hwang '20 (chemistry), Julianne Lin '20 (CS), Emma Cuddy '21 (physics)