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176
votes
11answers
37k views

Why don't metals bond when touched together?

It is my understanding that metals are a crystal lattice of ions, held together by delocalized electrons, which move freely through the lattice (and conduct electricity, heat, etc.). If two pieces ...
44
votes
6answers
7k views

Why are most metals gray/silver?

Why do most metals (iron, tin, aluminum, lead, zinc, tungsten, nickel, etc.) appear silver or gray in color? (What atomic characteristics determine the color?) What makes copper and gold have ...
34
votes
8answers
29k views

Will a hole cut into a metal disk expand or shrink when the disc is heated?

Suppose you take a metal disc and cut a small, circular hole in the center. When you heat the whole thing, will the hole's diameter increase or decrease? and why?
31
votes
1answer
4k views

Was Titanic's captain's decision correct?

I just saw a documentary on Titanic. Someone in that documentary told Captain Smith "Shall we close the water tight doors, sir?" and the Captain replied "No, let it be open. Let the water ...
20
votes
3answers
8k views

Is there a compound denser than the densest element?

I'm musing about how to give students an intuitive feeling about density by letting them lift a same sized volume of different materials, e.g. 1 liter of water, a 10x10x10 cm cube of iron, lead etc. ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Why don't free electrons fall from metals if shaken?

This is a question we were asked at a physics lecture.
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Resistance between two points in an infinite metal sphere/cube

Let's imagine that we have a tridimensional metal object of infinite size, and decide to calculate the resistance between two arbitrary points. How would we go about doing this? I have thought of two ...
9
votes
1answer
242 views

Why aren't superconductors shiny? [duplicate]

Superconductors are really good at conducting electricity. Should they not reflect light very well too?
8
votes
3answers
19k views

Hollow Tube Stronger than Solid bar of same Outside Diameter (O.D.)?

I was listening to some co-workers talking about problems meeting stiffness requirements. Someone said that even with a solid metal rod (instead of the existing tube) we could not meet stiffness ...
8
votes
1answer
141 views

Third-order susceptibilities of metals?

Can anyone point me to a source for measurements of the third-order nonlinear electric susceptibilities $\chi^{(3)}$ of various metals? Specifically in relation to the AC Kerr effect, so measurements ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is quicksilver (mercury) liquid at room temperature?

This is a nice question when you find it out, and I am really looking for a proper answer. Take quicksilver (Hg) in the periodic table. It has one proton more than Gold (melting point 1337.33 K), and ...
7
votes
2answers
425 views

Why does Platinum evaporate if left long enough?

I have been reading into research relating to the redefining the 1 kg weight as the current Platinum-Iridium is becoming smaller. In this article, here, it mentions that the original metal weight ...
6
votes
2answers
374 views

Can molten metal be suspended in air?

I wondered if magnets could be used to hold a drop of molten liquid metal in air (not for any particular reason just because it could be done), but was disappointed when a quick Google search showed ...
6
votes
2answers
678 views

If sound wave is going to hit any metals can it make that metal electrons into exited state?

What will happen when sound wave hits the metals with very high frequency can it make the electrons to exited state. If it happens then what will be the state of that metal
6
votes
1answer
163 views

Reflectivity of a glowing-hot metal surface

When a polished piece of metal (or steel in particular) is heated to incandescence, how do its reflective properties change? Given a mirror-like surface, would the object temporarily cease to act ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the penetration length of static electric field into conducting metals?

How large is the penetration length for static electric field into good conductors? I have two versions: (1) few atomic spacings $$a\sim n_{e}^{-1/3},$$ and (2) Debye length computed by Fermi ...
5
votes
3answers
17k views

In electrostatics, why the electric field inside a conductor is zero?

In electromagnetism books, such as Griffiths or the like, when they talk about the properties of conductors in case of electrostatics they say that the electric field inside a conductor is zero. I ...
5
votes
2answers
801 views

Could airport security possibly distinguish gold and silver coins from other coins?

People usually don't carry pure gold and silver coins in their wallets. If I put some in my wallet, would it be likely that airport security would detect some anomaly with my wallet as compared to ...
5
votes
1answer
102 views

Why are permanent magnets permanent?

Let me see if I get it right. When an iron bar is attracted by a permanent magnet it becomes a magnet itself because all of its magnetic domains start to point in the same direction. When the iron bar ...
4
votes
2answers
104 views

Metal Dilemma: Only very few civilizations per galaxy

This is a question in the area of extraterrestrial life. While life may be possible without it, space travel is probably impossible without metal. Metal is created in stars and heavy metals (above ...
4
votes
3answers
59 views

What happens to the electrons when metal gets cut or broken?

For example, if I take an iron rod (or thread) and cut it in half, could it happen that one side remains with an extra electron or would it balance out too fast? If possible, do the parts simply ...
4
votes
4answers
213 views

If you suddenly move a piece of metal, will that disturb the free electron density?

If we have a hollow pipe sitting at rest filled with gas and we moved the pipe suddenly along its length to the right, then the gas density will be momentarily higher near the rear of the pipe and ...
4
votes
4answers
7k views

In electrostatics, why the conductor is an equipotential surface?

Since the electric field inside a conductor is zero that means the potential is constant inside a conductor, which means the "inside" of a conductor is an equipotential region. Why books conclude ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What tests can I do at home to identify any metal?

Regarding a question on another Stack Exchange site which identifies a weighted Lego brick to be some kind of metal, I wanted to know how to identify a metal, perhaps limited to household objects like ...
4
votes
1answer
78 views

materials that repel positrons?

In this article is discussed at some length positron formation in metallic surfaces. Positrons have work functions that describe how much energy they have to receive in order to be extracted from the ...
4
votes
1answer
309 views

Impurity scattering temperature dependence

Is there any temperature dependence of relaxation time in impurity scattering of conducting electrons? It seems to me that there is none. But, some people claim that there is. So if you could ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Why does magnet attract iron but not other metals?

While searching, i found this page: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/stoi/Why-does-a-magnet-attract-iron/articleshow/4298171.cms but it does not have full explanation. So Please tell full ...
3
votes
2answers
350 views

X-ray diffraction from Metals

Is X-ray crystallography is possible for metals? Or not due to absorption?
3
votes
1answer
924 views

Why do most metals appear silver in color with gold being an exception from a scattering and EM viewpoint?

Related: Why are most metals gray/silver? After reading Johannes’ impressive answer to Ali Abbasinasab question of why do most metals appear silver in color with the exception of gold (and copper), ...
3
votes
2answers
9k views

Are all metals good conductor of electricity?

I am writing an article for kids, which is on conductors and insulators of electricity. If I make a statement that "All metals are electrical conductors and all non-metals are electrical insulators" ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

How does positive charge spread out in conductors?

I know that when there are excess positive charges in a conductor, for example, a metal sphere, the positive charges will spread out over its surface. However, I am confused about how this excess ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Will the hole on a metal disc expand or contract upon heating? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Will a hole cut into a metal disk expand or shrink when the disc is heated? The metal disc of diameter D1 has a hole in it and the diameter of the hole is D2 (D2 Now, ...
3
votes
1answer
193 views

Why do cold metal plate make less noise?

I have a metal gate in my home so I have noticed that when it is a hot day and if I hit it it makes a lot of noise but when there is a rainy day and the weather and the gate re cold and if I hit the ...
3
votes
1answer
64 views

Resources in space, and their distribution

I'm making a video game in which the economics of an interstellar civilization is important. What I'm wondering is, how are resources in space distributed? Since everything ultimately comes from ...
3
votes
1answer
29 views

plasma pressure initial condition

The authors in the paper below did a simulation of plasma plume evolution from a laser heated metal target. They used compressible transport equations and ideal gas EOS for Ar. I am having difficulty ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What causes stress concentration (aka stress risers/raisers) at corners?

I've read a few explanations about why stress concentration occurs at sharp corners but I don't find the explanations intuitive. Can anyone explain it perhaps using an analogy such as atoms "holding ...
2
votes
2answers
7k views

How do metallic objects interfere with X-Rays?

During my visit to the doctors', I recollect having seen the sign which says Please remove all metallic objects from the body before the commencement of the X-Ray How do metallic objects ...
2
votes
1answer
56 views

How to calculate the speed of electrons in a metal

According to the Sommerfeld model, the electrons on the Fermi level has the relation $$ \epsilon_F=\frac{\hbar^2k_F^2}{2m_e}=\frac{1}{2}m_ev_F^2 $$ i.e. $\hbar k_F=m_ev_F$ with $k_F=(3\pi^2n)^{1/3}$ ...
2
votes
1answer
26 views

Why does carbon alloy with iron specifically?

Everyone knows what an alloy is: it's a metal made by melting two (or more) other metals together. Unless of course you're talking about steel. That's a metal made by mixing carbon (very much not a ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What characterizes a metallic sound, and why do metals have a metallic sound?

We know that when we strike a metal, it usually has a characteristic "sharp" sound, unlike when we strike wood, say. What characterizes this "metallic sound"? Does it have a well-defined power ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

Electron density in metals at non zero temperature

When computing the electron density in metals, the usual crude result is computed for zero temperature. That is, we integrate \begin{equation} n=\frac{8\sqrt{2}\pi m^{3/2}}{h^{3}} ...
2
votes
2answers
401 views

How would a change in ambient temp affect a radiator?

I'm curious if you have a radiator or say a block of metal (lets say it's copper since it has the highest thermal conductivity) and on one side is a processor producing heat. At idle the processor ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

How long does it take a warm object to cool in air?

This is a work-related question. A warm steel torus of a given diameter & thickness is left in a room held at a controlled temperature, how long does it take to reach equilibrium? Assume the air ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Properties to select suitable materials for making permanent magnets

I have read that soft iron is suitable for making a permanent magnet. Because it is required for permanent magnet to have high coercivity and high retentivity. Same text also said earlier that soft ...
2
votes
0answers
52 views

Force constant of metals - Kohn anomaly

In Introduction to Solid State Physics (Kittel), it assumed the force constant between plane $s$ and $s+p$ $C_p=A\frac{\sin pk_0a}{pa}$ in metals to represent a Kohn anomaly. It says such a form is ...
2
votes
0answers
97 views

Bubbling metal vapor through liquid Helium?

When a metal cools from its liquid state, part of the nucleation happens from pre-existing clusters (a group of unit cells of the crystal lattice) already present in the liquid. In the case of a ...
2
votes
0answers
99 views

Is this a correct description of bonding in a metal?

I am reading the paper "Twenty five years of Finnis-Sinclair potentials" by Graeme Ackland, Adrian Sutton, and Vasek Vitek, Philosophical Magazine 2009, 89, 3111-3116. It is a review-type article ...
2
votes
0answers
85 views

Are metal modes mixed with molecular modes during surface enhanced Raman effect?

This question is dedicated to Martin Fleischmann (1927-2012). When a molecule is adsorbed on a metal surface, the Raman scattering amplitude from the molecule is enhanced. According to Wikipedia, the ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What makes some aluminium alloys so strong while remaining light?

Compared to cast iron, for example, certain alloys of aluminum have both strength and weight advantages. How can aluminum be so strong while being so light?
1
vote
2answers
285 views

Does Earth produce metallic elements in its core?

Does Earth produce metallic elements in its core?