Glassy alloys (metallic glasses) are currently the focus of intense research in the international metals community. Setting aside elevated-temperature applications, these amorphous metals have exciting potential for structural applications. When metallic glasses were first widely studied in the 1960s, the alloy compositions then known to be quenchable into the glassy state from the liquid required high cooling rates on the order of 106 K s−1 and were consequently restricted to thin sections. The current interest in metallic glasses has its origin mainly in the increasing range of compositions that can now be cast into glasses at much lower cooling rates, permitting minimum sections of 1 mm to 1 cm or even larger. These bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) are the focus of the articles in this issue of MRS Bulletin. Our goal is to illustrate the major materials issues for BMGs, from processing to structures to properties and from the fundamental science of glasses to viable industrial applications. We hope that the articles, in providing a snapshot of a rapidly moving field, show why BMGs are attracting such intense interest and serve to highlight some challenging issues awaiting resolution.
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