• By The Financial District

Physicists Create A Model For Material That Never Melts

The accepted science is that the more any given matter is heated, the more disrupted its internal order becomes. It melts or evaporates.


Photo Insert: The heated steel "pigs"



Now a model developed by researchers from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the University of Kentucky contradicts that notion, and may have implications for the development of superconductors that will help to create green energy, Gid’on Lev reported for Haaretz.


For almost 50 years scientists have been trying to develop theoretical models describing substances that can be heated without changing the internal order of the atoms comprising them. So far the equations all led to the conclusion that every matter will ultimately melt or evaporate.



But researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Kentucky have created just such a model, which was published last week in the journal Physical Review Letters.


Symmetry is defined according to the number of points of view from which the system looks the same – in other words, from all of them, its physical features are identical. The more such points there are, the more symmetrical the system. Dr. Michael Smolkin of Hebrew University’s Racah Institute of Physics developed the model with doctoral candidate Noam Chai and Prof. Anatoly Dymarsky of the University of Kentucky.


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“If you look at any crystal, on the microscopic level it has an organized structure. If we draw the structure as a two-dimensional network, like graph paper, symmetry tells us which activities can be carried out on the grid without it being possible to realize that something was done,” explains Smolkin.


“In a crystalline structure, symmetrical activities are very limited. Graph paper can be moved like that only in a very specific way, for example, it can be turned at a 90-degree angle. But if you take water rather than a crystalline substance, at any angle that we turn a bucket of water we see no change. So if we heat ice, we obtain more freedom to do things to the matter without creating a change, and the symmetry increases,” he concludes.


Science & technology: Scientist using a microscope in laboratory in the financial district.

In other words, according to the accepted thinking, the more a system is heated, the more its order declines and its symmetry increases. This claim applies to all the known physical systems, but the researchers wanted to examine whether there could be a system in which this doesn’t happen.


For this, they tapped the theory of quantum fields, which combines quantum theory with the theory of special relativity. Physicists use it in order to create models of substances, which means, to describe their characteristics, behavior, and interactions.



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