Homework Help: Materials at -1000 degrees C

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1. Oct 12, 2015

HugeDragon

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. Oct 12, 2015

PietKuip

I think the assignment is ridiculous. Negative temperatures can exist in some kinds of systems, but not on planets. A really stupid assignment.

3. Oct 12, 2015

HugeDragon

It is, but I still have to do it.

4. Oct 12, 2015

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?

5. Oct 12, 2015

Staff: Mentor

6. Oct 12, 2015

HugeDragon

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).

7. Oct 12, 2015

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.

8. Oct 12, 2015

HugeDragon

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.

9. Oct 12, 2015

PietKuip

I think you should complain about this. It is not the way to teach science. Try to get her replaced.

10. Oct 12, 2015

Staff: Mentor

Maybe the robot should have a self-contained power supply to keep it at reasonable temperatures where it's materials won't fail.

11. Oct 12, 2015

PietKuip

Yes, try to keep warm! That is why Philae (the comet lander) failed: its batteries froze.

12. Oct 12, 2015

HugeDragon

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!