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Materials at -1000 degrees C

  1. Oct 12, 2015 #1
    Hi guys,

    My science teacher gave me a project to design a robot for a specific planet. I must also include what materials the robot were to be made of. Unfortunately the planet I received has very hostile conditions
    1. Temps of -1000 degrees C. Do not ask my why my planet is colder than 0K (3 times colder). My science teacher will not give me a straight answer.
    2. Covered in 1m of dust.
    3. Extremely windy.
    4. Extremely dry.​
    I know there are no materials that will work at 0K (much less 3 times colder). But I have to pick the materials that are best for it (the ones that will fail the least).

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2015 #2
    I think the assignment is ridiculous. Negative temperatures can exist in some kinds of systems, but not on planets. A really stupid assignment.
     
  4. Oct 12, 2015 #3
    It is, but I still have to do it.
     
  5. Oct 12, 2015 #4

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF, HD.

    The question cannot be answered as stated, because the problem statement is non-physical (it amounts to Science Fiction or worse). Can you please ask your instructor for clarification? What level class is this -- is it for a high school class?
     
  6. Oct 12, 2015 #5

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

  7. Oct 12, 2015 #6
    It is for a high school level class (grade 9). I did ask for a clarification and my teacher said "This is not earth. This scenario may be possible on another planet". By that I think shy meant that the current laws of physics that apply to temperature may not be constant (they may change on another planet) and that I will have to find the materials that work best at cold temperatures (although nothing would work at that temperature).
     
  8. Oct 12, 2015 #7

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    Well she is incorrect. That's not a very good approach to science education, IMO.

    Why don't you take a printed copy of the article that I linked to her and ask her to explain it to you...

    Beyond that, I guess all you can do is read a bit about "cryogenic materials" to see what kinds of materials are used at temperatures near -273C.
     
  9. Oct 12, 2015 #8
    The best I could get (as I was doing some research myself) was aluminum or gold, as they are less likely to fracture upon impact. But it really is impossible. Oh well then. Thanks a lot for the help. :oldsmile:
     
  10. Oct 12, 2015 #9
    I think you should complain about this. It is not the way to teach science. Try to get her replaced.
     
  11. Oct 12, 2015 #10
    Maybe the robot should have a self-contained power supply to keep it at reasonable temperatures where it's materials won't fail.
     
  12. Oct 12, 2015 #11
    Yes, try to keep warm! That is why Philae (the comet lander) failed: its batteries froze.
     
  13. Oct 12, 2015 #12
    If only it was as simple as logic. Power supply to keep it warm? Nope, can't have that. -726K on a planet (that apparently has liquids and gas)? Why not! I have to hand in the project tomorrow so I won't be checking this anymore. Thanks for the quick help! :smile:
     
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