Materials - Rebuffing temperatures


Carefully combining materials that shrink when heated with materials that expand creates a material unaffected by extreme temperature. Researchers can apply this concept to satellites that experience drastic temperature changes as they orbit the Earth but must also maintain precise data. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology combined data from Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Spallation Neutron Source with computer modeling to discover the origin of negative thermal expansion from fourth order potentials in cubic scandium tri-fluoride ? one of the few materials that shrink when exposed to heat. ORNL's Doug Abernathy contributed to these findings, which appear in a paper recently published in Physical Review Letters. Understanding the phenomenal properties of this material helps scientists design materials with more desirable temperature properties.

 -  Media Relations,  865.576.1946,  November 08, 2011

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