The U.S. Mint has released a report on its research into alternative metals for United States coinage, with the object of reducing costs. After two years, the results have been inconclusive, and further research is recommended. From their statement:
The study took nearly two years, researching 80 metals on the periodic table of elements that may work—and which ones will not, establishing an R&D lab, and testing hundreds of test pieces composed of nearly 30 alloy formulations. The study involved working closely with many stakeholders—the vending industry being the primary one—to assess impacts of any potential alternatives.
The Mint has made significant progress and, at this time, has concluded that additional R&D is necessary before it can recommend any changes to the current coin composition. Going forward, the Mint will continue R&D and testing of potential alternative materials; conduct production-scale runs to validate supply chains, manufacturability, and costs; and further verify the estimated costs to stakeholders that are associated with the change.