Sunday, 8 January 2012

Metal undergoes novel transition under extreme pressure

Under extreme pressures and temperatures, one of the main materials of the Earth's interior has exhibited a never-before-seen transition.
Iron oxide was subjected to conditions similar to those at the depth where the Earth's innermost two layers meet.
At 1,650C and 690,000 times sea-level pressure, the metal changed the degree to which it conducted electricity.
But, as the team outlined in Physical Review Letters, the metal's structure was surprisingly unchanged.
The finding could have implications for our as-yet incomplete understanding of how the Earth's interior gives rise to the planet's magnetic field.

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