The world of products just got much more interesting. Berkeley Labs revealed a report last week that shows the metastability quotient for more than 30,000 materials. This they liken to showing the recipe for each material, which in suppliers hands could lead to new design options and brand new materials.

They say diamonds are forever, but diamonds in fact are a metastable form of carbon that will slowly but eventually transform into graphite, another form of carbon. Being able to design and synthesize other long-lived, thermodynamically metastable materials could be a potential gold mine for materials designers, but until now, scientists lacked a rational understanding of them.

Now researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have published a new study that, for the first time, explicitly quantifies the thermodynamic scale of metastability for almost 30,000 known materials. This paves the way for designing and making promising next-generation materials for use in everything from semiconductors to pharmaceuticals to steels.

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