From an article by  at Nanowerk:

 The discovery of quasicrystals three decades ago unveiled a class of matter that exhibits long-range order but lacks translational periodicity (Dan Shechtman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of quasicrystals in 2011). Owing to their unique structures, quasicrystals possess many unusual and useful properties.

Bulk quasicrystals are very brittle materials at room temperature – even more brittle than metallic glasses – rendering them difficult to process and often unsuitable for usage. A problem that must be resolved towards to the applications of quasicrystals is the tendency for cracking due to the materials’ extreme brittleness.

Whether it is possible to achieve high formability in quasicrystals and how quasicrystals are plastically deformed at room temperature have been long-standing questions since their discovery.

In new work, an international group of researchers led by scientists at ETH Zurich have found that a typically brittle quasicrystal exhibits superior ductility (ductility is a solid material’s ability to deform under stress without fracture) at the sub-micrometer scales and at room temperature.

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Image Credit: Yu Zou, ETH Zurich

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