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Journal of Materials
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 517904, 8 pages
Review Article

Bulk Metallic Glasses and Their Composites: A Brief History of Diverging Fields

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, MS 18-105, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA

Received 12 November 2012; Accepted 13 December 2012

Academic Editor: Ram Gupta

Copyright © 2013 Douglas C. Hofmann. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) and their derivative metal matrix composites (BMGMCs) are emerging high-performance engineering materials that are on the precipice of widespread commercialization. This review article discusses the origin of these materials and how their applications and research focus have divided into two distinct fields, one primarily focused on the plastic-like processability of BMGs and the other on the enhanced fracture mechanics of BMGMCs. Although the materials are of similar composition and origin, it is argued that their implementation will be widely varying due to their different processing requirements and intended uses. BMGs will likely find use as plastic-replacement components in cosmetic applications (e.g., watches, cell phones, biomedical implants) while BMGMCs will be used in structural applications (e.g., golf clubs, hardware for defense, energy absorbing structures).