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Amorphous Metal Activity

The atoms in an amorphous material are not arranged in any ordered structure, rather they have a tightly-packed, but random arrangement. As a consequence, some amorphous metals are very hard and have a low elastic (or Young's) modulus. This combination of hardness and elasticity is an important factor in its many applications, including golf clubs and industrial coatings.

In this demonstration, two ball bearings are dropped from the same height,  down identical plastic tubes, onto two different surfaces: one stainless steel, and one an amorphous metal called Liquidmetal®. The differences in the behavior of each metal are compared to the differences in their atomic structure.


  • Amorphous Metal Quick Reference Activity Guide
  • Atomic Trampoline Kit - available through the Institute for Chemical Education, this kit includes:
    • a stainless steel base
    • a stainless steel base with a 1/8 inch thick disk of Liquidmetal® (Zr41.2Be22.5Ti13.8Cu12.5Ni10.0) glued to it
    • two clear plastic tubes which slide over the top of the bases
    • two hardened steel ball bearings
    • a booklet complete with pictures and figures  which help explain the behavior of the amorphous metal, as well as some other activities to try with the demonstration set-up
  • The face-centered cubic (fcc) model built with the solid state model kit
  • Different sized marbles in a jar (represents an amorphous arrangement of atoms

Training Videos

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Amorphous metal background



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