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158
votes
11answers
33k 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 ...
37
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
29
votes
8answers
19k 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?
23
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
2k 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. ...
11
votes
1answer
749 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
13k 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
190 views

Why aren't superconductors shiny? [duplicate]

Superconductors are really good at conducting electricity. Should they not reflect light very well too?
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
270 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 ...
7
votes
0answers
99 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
587 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
976 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
1answer
134 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
96 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
11k 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
153 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
5k 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
251 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
236 views

X-ray diffraction from Metals

Is X-ray crystallography is possible for metals? Or not due to absorption?
3
votes
1answer
413 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
1answer
57 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
709 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
66 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
978 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
3k 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, ...
2
votes
2answers
6k 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" ...
2
votes
1answer
685 views

What tests can I do at home to identify a 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
33 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
142 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
288 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
564 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
0answers
83 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
73 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
77 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
812 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
212 views

Does Earth produce metallic elements in its core?

Does Earth produce metallic elements in its core?
1
vote
2answers
5k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
257 views

Formation of the overlap in metal electron bands

I understand that metals have overlapping of valence and conduction bands. But is this because there exists a partial conduction band within the top part of a metal valence band, or because the ...
1
vote
1answer
486 views

Why is stainless steel a poor conductor of electricity?

I recently had a metal plate put in my shoulder and was wondering why stainless steel isn't a good conductor (At least I hope it isn't). Does the alloy just lack free electrons? Why is that?
1
vote
1answer
280 views

Euler's buckling formula applicable for impact calculations?

$$F = \frac{\pi^2 EI}{(KL)^2}$$ Is Euler's buckling formula applicable for impact calculations, considering speeds relevant for a car or aircraft crash? If there is a level where the formula ...
1
vote
0answers
76 views

How did gunsmiths create revolver cylinders in 1850's without the use of electrical drill? [closed]

How did gunsmiths create revolver cylinders holes in 1850's without the use of electrical drill? Which referces/ books specialize providing knowledge in similar molding method?
1
vote
0answers
38 views

Why do (most) metals cause problems in a microwave oven? Which metals (if any) don't? [duplicate]

Most of us have seen microwave ovens with metal racks or shelves, which challenges the common notion that you can't (safely) put metal in a microwave oven. What's going on here? Is it a matter of ...
1
vote
0answers
55 views

Maximise magnetic force at one point while minimizing at another

Is it possible to have a magnet that attracts one object strongly, but not another object behind that first object? Given an (electro-) magnet M above two thin parallel steel sheets P1 and P2 in the ...
1
vote
2answers
139 views

Is it possible to reduce the sound, when two metal objects collide (perhaps with some coating) without reducing the rigidity of the surface?

I have a system, where there are ball bearings on the pistons that clamp the metal plate with special dents for ball bearings. The system should be precise, because it is used for microscopy. It also ...
1
vote
2answers
166 views

Why energy saving light bulbs contain rare earth?

Reading a french article talking about a recycling unit of rare earth from energy saving light bulbs near Lyon - France (here is the official press release of the Salvay company), I was wondering : ...
1
vote
0answers
234 views

Electrical machines: electrical and mechanical properties of steels and cast iron

I would like to know a good source of information for the common metals (steels and cast iron). Information that I need are basically the mass density and the electrical conductivity or resistivity. ...
1
vote
1answer
721 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
248 views

Why do electrons make a Fermi sphere?

In Sommerfeld theory for metals, after determining all of the possible levels for a single electron, one says that we build up a state for a system with $N$ electrons by filling up those levels, ...
0
votes
2answers
725 views

What is the best material and design for building a parabolic dish?

I'm currently using a homemade metallic spaghetti strainer with a wifi adapter inside it to increase my wifi adapter's signal reception, but would think that a different material, like the aluminum ...