NASA-funded researchers recently obtained the first complete proof of a 50-year-old hypothesis explaining how liquid metals resist turning into solids
The photo on the July cover of Physics Today shows a solid metal sample of titanium-zirconium-nickel alloy inside the Electrostatic Levitator at NASAs Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Using electromagnetic energy to levitate the sample was crucial because stray contamination from containers causes crystals to form inside liquid metals, which ruins measurements on pure samples. (NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given)
The research is featured on the cover of the July issue of Physics Today. It challenges theories about how crystals form by a process called nucleation, important in everything from materials to biological systems.
"Nucleation is everywhere," said Dr. Kenneth Kelton, the physics professor who leads a research team from Washington University in St. Louis. "Its the major way physical systems change from one phase to another. The better we understand it, the better we can tailor the properties of materials to meet specific needs," he said.
Steve Roy | MSFC News Center
Studying fundamental particles in materials
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