Narrator: This is Science Today. Multilayers are materials currently used to coat and strengthen components such as x-ray optics and microscopes. But material scientist Troy Barbee of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has extended the ability of multilayers by going to the atomic level and combining the best properties of two different materials, eliminating some of their individual drawbacks.
Barbee: What we're saying is that the weakest link is probably no longer weak. By making a multilayer structure and controlling the defect density and the quality of the material, you can make materials which exhibit seventy percent of the theoretical strength.
Narrator: The Lab developed a multilayer made of copper and Monel, which is a copper and nickel alloy. This has more than 10 times the strength of copper alone and is highly resistant to chemical corrosion.
Barbee: You can't make a high strength material which is corrosion resistant. It's very difficult. Whereas, with these materials, we can in fact make things which are high strength and corrosion resistant.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.