Scientists using powerful computer simulations, they found a new material with a higher melting point than any known substance.
A solar prominence erupts in August 2012, as captured by SDO. Image credit wikimedia
Researchers at Brown University by simulating physical processes at the atomic level, predicted that a material made from hafnium, nitrogen, and carbon, has a record-setting melting point about two-thirds the temperature at the surface of the sun.
The researchers then used those findings to look for compounds that might maximize those properties. They found would have a similarly high heat of fusion but a smaller difference between the entropies of the solid and the liquid.
Van de Walle and Hong are now collaborating with Alexandra Navrotsky’s lab at the University of California–Davis to synthesize the compound and perform the melting point experiments.
“The advantage of starting with the computational approach is we can try lots of different combinations very cheaply and find ones that might be worth experimenting with in the lab.”
Image credit Van de Walle lab/Brown University
The work could ultimately point toward new high-performance materials for a variety of uses, from plating for gas turbines to heat shields on high-speed aircraft. But whether the HfN0.38C0.51 compound itself will be a useful material isn’t clear, van de Walle says.
“Melting point isn’t the only property that’s important