Science – High-pressure ‘Alchemy’ Creates Nonexpanding Metals

Georg_AgricolaI’m not a metallurgist, but this is an interesting story: By squeezing a typical metal alloy at pressures hundreds of thousands of times greater than normal atmospheric pressure, scientists have created a material that does not expand when heated, as does nearly every normal metal, and acts like a metal with an entirely different chemical composition.
“Today, materials physics has some excellent computational tools for predicting the structure and properties of materials, although there are suspicions about how well they work for magnetic materials,” says Fultz. “It is satisfying that these computational tools worked so well for showing how pressure changed the material into an Invar alloy. Invar behavior is pretty subtle, requiring a very special condition for the electrons in the metal that is usually tuned by precise control of chemical composition. Pressure can make the electrons behave as if they are in a material of different chemical composition, so I really like Mike’s use of the word ‘alchemy’.”
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