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Thread: Magnesium Magic

  1. #1
    Senior Member 1audiohack's Avatar
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    Magnesium Magic

    Hi All:

    I am a material geek of sorts and just found something that might interest some of you as well.


    When JBL introduced Mg diaphragm drivers, I was baffled about how they could use such an inherently brittle material in a bending application.

    In the automotive racing world, we are familiar with magnesium and its properties. Formed parts are wrought at elevated temperatures of about 200 - 400° C. and virtually all other parts are castings.

    Initially I assumed that JBL must use a surround of different material, something similar to what Materion has employed in the TruExtent diaphragms. I also assumed the domes must be formed while hot.

    A couple of years ago on a visit to JBL Northridge I had the privilege to speak with J Morro for a while. My interest in materials led him to show me some unassembled diaphragms. I was surprised to see that the Be and Mg diaphragms had standard looking diamond surround forms like the 2445-2450.

    He showed me a hard anodized aluminum diaphragm that was very stiff and light but he told me they fail at the surround as the anodizing makes them brittle. I mentioned that I was surprised that they did not mask that area where the bending would occur. I didn't prod as I was grateful for the time he spent with me and questioning him about it didn't seem appropriate.

    Back to Mg:

    I found an article on an relatively new process developed at Monash University in Melbourne Australia that makes it possible to shape pure magnesium at ambient temperature.

    Professor of material science engineering Nick Birbilis states "The recipe is relatively simple: Pure magnesium is pushed through a die at 80°C, then cold rolled."

    "This process changes the microstructure of the magnesium so that it is no longer brittle."

    "By refining the microstructure, we have changed the deformation mechanism from intra granular (brittle) to inter granular (formable)."

    Pretty cool! I wondered for a long time how they did it.

    Oh by the way, "Duralumin" as used in JBL Al diaphragms is 2024 series aluminum, a very high strength aluminum alloy with good elongation properties whos major alloying metal is copper.

    All the best!
    Barry.
    If we knew what the hell we were doing, we wouldn't call it research would we.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ivica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1audiohack View Post
    Hi All:

    I am a material geek of sorts and just found something that might interest some of you as well.
    When JBL introduced Mg diaphragm drivers, I was baffled about how they could use such an inherently brittle material in a bending application.
    In the automotive racing world, we are familiar with magnesium and its properties. Formed parts are wrought at elevated temperatures of about 200 - 400° C. and virtually all other parts are castings.
    Initially I assumed that JBL must use a surround of different material, something similar to what Materion has employed in the TruExtent diaphragms. I also assumed the domes must be formed while hot.
    A couple of years ago on a visit to JBL Northridge I had the privilege to speak with J Morro for a while. My interest in materials led him to show me some unassembled diaphragms. I was surprised to see that the Be and Mg diaphragms had standard looking diamond surround forms like the 2445-2450.
    He showed me a hard anodized aluminum diaphragm that was very stiff and light but he told me they fail at the surround as the anodizing makes them brittle. I mentioned that I was surprised that they did not mask that area where the bending would occur. I didn't prod as I was grateful for the time he spent with me and questioning him about it didn't seem appropriate.

    Back to Mg:
    I found an article on an relatively new process developed at Monash University in Melbourne Australia that makes it possible to shape pure magnesium at ambient temperature.
    Professor of material science engineering Nick Birbilis states "The recipe is relatively simple: Pure magnesium is pushed through a die at 80°C, then cold rolled."
    "This process changes the microstructure of the magnesium so that it is no longer brittle."
    "By refining the microstructure, we have changed the deformation mechanism from intra granular (brittle) to inter granular (formable)." Pretty cool! I wondered for a long time how they did it.
    Oh by the way, "Duralumin" as used in JBL Al diaphragms is 2024 series aluminum, a very high strength aluminum alloy with good elongation properties whos major alloying metal is copper. ....
    Barry.

    Hi Barry,

    Thank You for the technical data information. Some more info about that would be interesting for me.
    I believe that the whole technology dealing with either the AL (alloy), Be (alloy), Mg (alloy) is fare from being
    easy, as very high tolerance product 3D shaped as diaphragm has to be made. NO to mention that JBL is
    not producing 476Be diaphragms these days. Why ? Somebody said that at the beginning JBL has to pay about 100$
    for each Be diaphragm to Materion, but such diaphragm had 'diamond shaped suspension'.
    I think that 18-Sound have used Aluminum anodized diaphragms, but using 'plastic' suspension. I have no experience with
    such type, but I have their ND2060A drivers, and over 12kHz they have not so good response (even they are 3-inch VC).

    regards
    ivica
    H

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lee in Montreal's Avatar
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    Hi Barry

    Great reading. Thanks.

    Lee

  4. #4
    Senior Member RMC's Avatar
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    Hi Barry,

    The battery of the future (electric cars, smart phones, etc.) may well be Magnesium based too. Just type "Toyota Magnesium battery" in your search engine to find all the info, example below.

    Richard

    P.S When I read it in the newspaper I remember the Engineer talked about 15-20 years before seeing it on the market...


    "Toyota battery breakthrough means magnesium could eventually replace lithium."



    "Toyota’s Advanced Magnesium Battery Breakthrough

    June 22, 2016 by energypower


    The key to using magnesium in next generation electric vehicle batteries has been discovered by scientists at the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA).

    The breakthrough came as Toyota principal scientist and chemical engineer Rana Mohtadi realised her hydrogen storage material might solve magnesium-based battery issues.

    Researchers took magnesium borohydride and its derivative boron cluster compounds—a material used in hydrogen storage— and made it practical for magnesium battery chemistry.

    Read the full article on www.bestmag.co.uk

    Filed Under: Industry News"

  5. #5
    Senior Member 1audiohack's Avatar
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    Hi Guys;

    I didn’t know how few of us would wonder/worry about Mg diaphragms. My 4365’s have them and while I don’t abuse them, my understanding (past tense) about Magnesium weighed on my mind whenever I played them very loud.

    ivica, below is the link to the mind numbing (in depth) article (the kind I like and suspect you do to).

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01330-9

    All the best,
    Barry.

    P.S. An amazing demonstration of the process of ambient temperature metal extrusion can be found on the link here.

    https://www.catalinacylinders.com/

    Scroll down to the bottom of the page and view the video titled “Making a Scuba Cylinder”
    If we knew what the hell we were doing, we wouldn't call it research would we.

  6. #6
    Senior Member 1audiohack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ivica View Post
    Hi Barry,

    Thank You for the technical data information. Some more info about that would be interesting for me.
    I believe that the whole technology dealing with either the AL (alloy), Be (alloy), Mg (alloy) is fare from being
    easy, as very high tolerance product 3D shaped as diaphragm has to be made. NO to mention that JBL is
    not producing 476Be diaphragms these days. Why ? Somebody said that at the beginning JBL has to pay about 100$
    for each Be diaphragm to Materion, but such diaphragm had 'diamond shaped suspension'...

    regards
    ivica
    H
    Hi ivica;

    I have not taken apart a 476Be yet so I don’t know for a fact that the production units have Be for the surround.

    Be is very difficult to form. Foil is rolled from plate or ingot at elevated temperature in a can. The can is 308L stainless steel that is laser/electron beam welded around the Be in a vacuum. This can is heated and rolled to the desired thickness. The can is held between 650-900C or 1200-1650 degrees F and is reheated as necessary to maintain this temperature while rolling. Also it must be rolled alternately on 90 degree axis to maintain formability of the foil when later formed in a dome or other multi dimensional form. The can is anealed at about 500C or 950F and then sheared off of the Be. Further flattening and anealing is done between ceramic plates.

    To obtain sufficient ductility and formability of the foil, BrushWelllman has to form the diapragms at 300C or 570F in a hermetically sealed heated forming chamber.

    A little insight on why Be diphragms so damned expensive.

    Barry

    P.S. Thanks for this information goes in part to my brother who works in the nuclear medical world. Be foil is used among other things as windows on radiation source emitters and detectors.
    If we knew what the hell we were doing, we wouldn't call it research would we.

  7. #7
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1audiohack View Post
    I have not taken apart a 476Be yet so I don’t know for a fact that the production units have Be for the surround.
    I’ve seen the JBL Be diaphragms at Materion where they are formed and they have a very similar geometry to the Ti diaphragms with a diamond pattern surround formed from the same rolled foil as the dome. Needless to say, they are quite proud of their ability to pull that feat off.

    The voice coils and mounting rings are added to the diaphragms by JBL.


    Widget

  8. #8
    Senior Member pos's Avatar
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    Yet Materion uses polymer surrounds on their very own diaphragms, and are adamant that this is superior to metal surrounds in terms of LF response and metal fatigue.
    Is that pure marketing and price cutting?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    I have read recent forum member observations in other threads that the Materion Be diaphragm does not go as high as the 475 Be diaphragm.

    This observation is consistent with why Jbl use the diamond surround to extend the HF response.


    (They used the diamond surround with the 2421 and the 2425 diaphragm)

  10. #10
    Senior Member pos's Avatar
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    Here is the exact quote:
    Quote Originally Posted by johanwholst View Post
    Ari and I tried 2450sl with TE and 476be in M2. The sensitivity in the uhf is practically identical with a slight nod to the 476be.
    They also sound quite similar when eqed but 476be a tad more relaxed

  11. #11
    Senior Member 1audiohack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pos View Post
    Yet Materion uses polymer surrounds on their very own diaphragms, and are adamant that this is superior to metal surrounds in terms of LF response and metal fatigue.
    Is that pure marketing and price cutting?
    Peter from Materion told me that the TruExtent diaphragms were designed to withstand the rigors of pro use. He said there was a redesign of the actual diaphragm early on that was more fatigue resistant.

    The surround and the clearance between the phase plug and diaphragm will both affect the HF. I certainly understand that using a more compliant surround would be necessary to increased the LF performance while maintaining reliability.

    Thanks Widget, I didn’t know for sure.

    Barry.
    If we knew what the hell we were doing, we wouldn't call it research would we.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    My comment was actually directed to this post.

    Then I recall GT disconnecting the UHF in his home system?

    Its all supposition without conclusive measurements and blind tests as there are a few variables to consider like the actual horns being referenced but I find it interesting.

    Then of course how many of us "old farts" can actually detect anything above 12 k hertz anyways?

    If you think a $2000 Bat slayer adds "air" then good for you.

    Anecdotally I would think the diffraction point of the horn in use and the angle of the driver throat (match) has a lot to do with the perception what heard or not heard.

    Quote Originally Posted by ivica View Post
    Hi Herman,

    As You can see from the other member experience Be diaphragms would produce clear sound but over 10~12kHz UHV driver is needed, even EQ applied.
    I believe that is because of the mambrane suspension as it is not made of Be, but a kind of plastic , If You can get JBL Be original diaphragm (for 476 driver) then may be it would be a different story, but AL (JBL d16r2441 may be would be a solution for the home listening ) or even d16r2445. each of them have a kind of unpleasant response over 12kHz, but not so large as d16r2446. some experiments can be made with d16r2451SL diaphragm, but I believe that the result would be the same as Be(Trx) applied.)
    As You can see, some members are satisfied with 2384 horn too. May be 2381 or PT-H95HF, or PT-F95HF or STX825 are candidates too. Latter two are vary similar I think, but have to be used , I believe over 1.5kHz.

    https://www.jblpro.com/ProductAttachments/tn_v1n31.pdf

    some more results
    http://www.audioheritage.org/vbullet...l=1#post375519
    regards
    ivica

  13. #13
    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    Then I recall GT disconnecting the UHF in his home system?
    Yes he was running the 435Be's only

    Rob
    "I could be arguing in my spare time"

  14. #14
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    Memory Lane

    Walks down Memory Lane can be nostalgically affirming, but it's always good to walk all the way down to the end of the lane and not stop before the journey is done.

    Not so long after the Legend of the Disconnected 045Be was born, there was a quest to reintegrate the 045Be into the Timbers Arrays. Below (top photo) is a snapped pic of the external UHF board (in its post-horn resting spot) to bring the 045Be back into the reproduction chain, with the long leads up to the 045Be.

    According to the person who purchased and picked up the Timbers Arrays, it was reportedly "...to bring more presence and clarity" to the sound. Or maybe it was to trick the hapless buyer? (Just sarcasm, not a real possibility. Take a breath everyone!)

    Anyway, dangerously pulled out of its nest, with fear and trepidation lest a connection break, the UHF crossover is revealed in the pic on the bottom. This is impeccable work by the Master, and it's another "I don't have a clue what he did? But I like it!" for the purchaser.

    And "That is the rest of the story."
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Out.

  15. #15
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    476Mg

    BTW,

    I've been humping the heck out of the 476Mg drivers in the K2 S9900 since meeting Mr. Widget in a San Luis Obispo parking lot in September 2010, and I have to say, they've held up exceptionally well. I know folks have some expectation bias in 476Be vs. 476Mg, but over time, it's hard to distinguish between the two for an aging sexagenarian.

    Gotta love that word!
    Out.

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