The correlation between the micro- and nanostructure of a material and its physical and chemical properties is the key issue in materials development. Considerable progress has been achieved recently by the development of new processing technologies (advanced solidification techniques, mechanical alloying etc.) and new multi-component alloys (bulk metallic glass, nanocomposites, advanced intermetallics etc.) with superior mechanical, magnetic and tribological properties.
A short overview will be given concerning new trends in the development of bulk metallic glasses. Glasses are generally produced from the highly undercooled liquid state. For metallic systems it is therefore essential to effectively control heterogeneous nucleation sites in the undercooled liquid. This has recently led to the development of bulk metallic glasses, e.g. samples with volumes of several cubic centimeters. These new materials with a complex multicomponent chemistry are characterised by deep eutectic temperatures and excellent magnetic and mechanical properties. Most recent results on glass forming melts suggest a scenario where the glass transition in a metallic alloy is not a phase transition in the classical sense but kinetic freezing triggered by an underlying entropic instability. Possible applications are wear resistant bulk materials, high-strength sporting equipment, electronic casing, high performance magnetic coils etc. Furthermore, the deformation processes relevant for nanoscale materials (grain boundary sliding) and bulk metallic glasses (formation of shear bands) is also being extended to develop wear resistant coatings and surfaces.