But again, if you are good with materials I would be more than happy rather to listen...
Heh, well by education i'm an aero engineer, so yes I had a good bit of materials study.
But with this last microphone project it got so critical that I had to hire a metallurgist. Spent a ton of money. We did a lot of tests on aluminum, beryllium, titanium and other foils. But it was for diaphragms, not conducting elements.
However we studied electrical conductivity because it was a means to evaluate precipitation hardening mechanisms in the copper aluminum hardenable alloys. Turns out it can be almost (not quite) as good as pure Al with some age hardining mechanisms.
The tensile and bending modulus (therefore compliance) is actually about the same for the hardened cu/al and the pure al. It's just that the former is much stronger.
Not when it corrodes. And it's prone to that. Then the foils get brittle, as you said. So It has to be protected. It's a BIG issue for me, because I'm a pilot. You better believe I closely inspect hardened aluminum wing spars and structures before I fly an old vintage plane. Life or death!
I'm just looking to see if there is any incremental, meaningful improvement left that could be done to ribbon microphones. You see, I have lately designed a ribbon specific mic preamp, and want to look at possible microphones as a product too.
As a microphone/electronics designer (usually ultrasonic) I'm totally familiar with the usual tricks and trade offs with ribbons. Resonator and diffractor plates, baffles, magnetic circuit, transformers, all of that.
I used to make ribbon mics as a teenager from Wrigley's gum foil after reading Harry Olsons stuff. Shocked to see others did that too.
My dad had a job with Western Electric while he was in college in the '40s
and he was the ribbon tuning technician for the 639!!
But I wonder if anything else could be done. I guess one of the last things was the roswellite stuff, and I note that my old alma mater Shure is selling those C&T mics. Seems very durable, but a composite ribbon has got to have some sensitiviy tradeoffs. A hardened Al might have the durability with little tradeoff, if it had a few nanometers of something to protect it from degradation.
Just thinkin out loud...