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MIT researchers have devised a new method for shrinking the size of crystals to make safer metal alloys. The new materials could replace metal coatings such as chromium, which is dangerous for factory workers to produce.
For the chromium replacement, the two made crystals of nickel and tungsten small enough that the resulting alloy is as hard as chromium. The trick is a new twist on electroplating that involves manipulating -- on the nanoscale, or billionths of a meter -- how the nickel and tungsten atoms are laid down as they are plated onto another metal.