Science Questions

What is the crystal structure of super bainite?

Tue, 10th Jul 2012

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Question

Peter Jemley, via Twitter asked:

What is the crystal structure of super bainite?

Answer

Harry -   There's actually two kinds of crystals.  One in which the atoms are arranged at the corners of a cube with a single atom in the centre of the cube, so we call that body-centred cubic and the other one where you still have the atoms at the corners of a cube, but also at the centres of their faces, and thatís a face-centred cubic crystal structure.

Ben -   So that would be like looking at a die where every surface just has a one.  So itís impossible to roll a 6 because they're all just ones.

Harry -   Correct.

Ben -   And what is it about those structures that give them their properties?

Harry -   The body-centred one is very strong, but is not as tough as the face-centred cubic.  So if you combine them, then you have the ability to absorb energy as well as be strong.

Ben -   And so, what is it that actually causes these structures to form when youíve got it in your pizza oven for however long?

Harry -   First, we go to 1,000 degrees centigrade where everything is face-centred cubic and at 200 degrees centigrade, the body-centred cubic form is favoured so it grows inside the face-centred cubic form.

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