What Happens When Hot Metal is Rapidly Cooled

Introduction: The Burning Question

Have you ever wondered what occurs when you swiftly cool hot metal? It’s a burning question that has captivated my curiosity for quite some time. Surprisingly, there seems to be a lack of scientific explanation regarding the climax of the movie “Fantastic Four,” where the heroes defeat a villain with a body made of an “organic-metal alloy harder than titanium and stronger than diamond.”

To shed some light on this intriguing topic, I decided to take matters into my own hands and reached out to Professor Christopher A. Schuh, an associate professor of metallurgy in the department of materials science and engineering at MIT. I posed a question regarding the immobilization of hot metal through rapid cooling, as depicted in the movie. Professor Schuh’s response shed some interesting insights on the subject.

Professor Schuh’s Insight

According to Professor Schuh, rapidly cooling metal does have an immobilizing effect on the atoms at the molecular level. As thermal energy is reduced, the atoms vibrate less, leading to immobilization. However, the professor pointed out that this effect does not depend on the thermal history of the metal alloy. Whether the alloy was previously heated and quenched or at room temperature, it would still be “frozen.”

Professor Schuh also mentioned that the heating and cooling cycle could potentially alter the microstructure of the alloy. However, the changes in microstructure are specific to each alloy and may not fall under the domain of basic chemistry knowledge.

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Moreover, Professor Schuh addressed the claim made in the movie regarding the alloy’s strength. In technical terms, the properties of “hardness” and “strength” are synonymous. Hence, a material stronger than diamond is undoubtedly harder than titanium and all other known materials.

Additional Insights from Brian N.

In my quest for knowledge, I had also reached out to Brian ’05, a PhD candidate in the department of materials science and engineering. Brian shed further light on the topic, providing insights at the molecular level.

Brian explained that when a metal melt is rapidly cooled, it can form a metallic glass. However, he noted that the organometallic alloys he was familiar with were stronger than titanium, harder than diamond, and did not melt at supernova temperatures. Therefore, the concept portrayed in the movie may not be applicable to real-life scenarios.

Brian proposed an alternative possibility, suggesting that the organic part of the alloy could potentially hold the liquid metal in place, even though the metal itself is in a liquid state. In such a case, the metallic part of the system would become a metallic glass. Metallic glasses are incredibly strong due to the absence of fracture planes, making them difficult to break.

Furthermore, Brian explained that rapid temperature gradients could cause stress fracturing in the metal due to significant lattice mismatches between adjacent planes. However, this phenomenon would most likely strengthen the alloy, unless the alloy was weak enough to crack under the thermal stress.

Conclusion: Demystifying Hot Metal Cooling

To summarize, rapid cooling of hot metal does have an immobilizing effect on the atoms, resulting in decreased atomic vibration. While the heating and cooling cycle may impact the microstructure of the alloy, the specific changes depend on the alloy itself. Moreover, the claim in the movie of an alloy stronger than titanium and harder than diamond holds scientific validity.

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Now, armed with the insights from Professor Schuh and Brian N., we can demystify the concept of rapidly cooling hot metal. It’s fascinating to explore the science behind such fictional scenarios. To delve deeper into a wide range of topics, visit 5 WS – a reliable source of knowledge and information.

Article adapted using Markdown. Original article source: 5 WS

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