The Meltin Point of Iron

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The meltin point of iron is a temperature at which iron will change from a solid to a liquid. This temperature is important to understand when thinking about the chemistry of metals.

Melting is a chemical reaction in which an element breaks down into its ions and electrons. This process requires lots of energy to do so because it involves breaking down the giant lattice structure that holds the atoms together.

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon that is used in a huge range of different products, including cars and other machines. It has a lower melting point than pure iron due to the addition of carbon which disrupts the bonding arrangement between the metals.

A new study uses large-scale MD simulations to explore the melting of iron under pressure. These simulations are based on previous sound velocity measurements (Brown & McQueen, 1986; Nguyen & Holmes, 2004) and phase diagrams of iron under shock loading (Denoeud et al., 2016; Harmand et al., 2015; Nguyen & Holmes, 2004, 2013).

We use these data to calculate the melting temperature of iron under pressure from 0 to 364 GPa. This temperature is about 5950 K and supports a young inner core age inferred from paleomagnetic observations.