This new material offers zero thermal expansion at over 1000°C

A team of researchers announce that they have developed what may be the most thermally stable material ever created. Indeed, the latter could withstand temperatures up to 1126°C without the slightest expansion.

What is thermal expansion?

Thermal expansion is the expansion of the volume of a body caused by the increase in temperature. Specifically, the more the temperature rises, the more the particles in a body or a substance are agitated. And the more the movement of these particles increases, the higher the temperature. As a result, the particles then tend to occupy a larger space due to the amplification of their movements. This results in a increase in volume of the involved bodyoften imperceptible, but very present.

Expansion-free materials are used for high-precision instruments, controllers, aerospace components and other medical implants. In short, so many environments in which it is important to remain “stable” at varying temperatures (with low thermal expansion).

For example, Invar, an alloy of iron (64%) and nickel (36%), is known for its very low coefficient of expansion.

An incredibly stable new material

Researchers at the University of New South Wales recently developed a new material that does not expand or contract over an extremely wide temperature range: between -269 to 1126°C. In other words, in these temperature ranges, this new material does not change in volume.

Composed of scandium, aluminum, tungsten and oxygen, it is probably the most thermally stable material ever made. His name is: SC. 1,5 Already 0.5 W 3 O 12. (awaiting more catchy).

« We experimented with these materials in conjunction with our battery research, for independent purposes, and happened upon the unique property of this particular compound.explains Neeraj Sharma, lead author of this work.

A still “secret” mechanism

The researchers, who publish their work in Chemistry of Materials, pointed to some minute changes in the bonds, the position of the oxygen atoms and the rotations of the atomic arrangements. These changes would, in their view, be exactly let the material absorb temperature changes.

« At present, it is unclear whether any or all of these contributing factors are responsible for stability over a temperature range. We are investigating further to try to isolate the mechanismNeeraj Sharma continues.

Due to the relatively simple synthesis of the materials and the good availability of the ‘ingredients’, the researchers also point out that large-scale manufacturing is possible. ” Scandium is rarer and more expensive, but we are experimenting with other elements that can be replaced and maintain stability‘ said Sharma.