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Presently, numerous disciplines concentrate their efforts on the study of certain specialized aspects of solids. Over the past century emergent disciplines like solid-state chemistry and physics as well as motive studies like mass flow analysis have emerged as critical disciplines that edify on the various capabilities and properties of solids. Arguably, solids form the core of enormous technological inventions of the present society like lasers and integrated circuits systems. Tilley (2005) suggests that no single principle technology within the contemporary world with no systematic solid-state controlling backbone.
Evidently, this admission has the implication that the study of varied properties is in reaction to the enormous need for a better comprehension of this state of matter. Like most properties of substances, properties of solids have an immense dependence on the prevailing temperatures. Various aspects that bear critical technological significance such as thermal conductivity, magnetic characteristics and others depend heavily on temperatures. This study focuses on the temperature dependent properties of solids. It gives a critical analysis of some of the most significant aspects of solids and their variations under changing temperatures.
Temperature and Physical Properties of Solids
Studies have shown a close relationship between temperature and physical properties of solids. Contributing to the physical properties of solids, Tilley (2005) notes that solids posses varied physical properties. He identified a number of these properties of solids including such aspects as hardness, elasticity, malleability, ductility, tensile properties amid many others. Evidently, these physical properties vary with the dissimilar archetypes of solids. While solids like diamonds exhibit characteristic hardness and strength, soils have a loosely bounded physical aspect while carbonated rocks are compact but increasingly soft. However, under effect of temperature, physical properties of solids vary considerably. This majorly depends on the structure of the solid or the bonds that hold its structure together.
The same is supported by Tillmann, Valerio & Silva (2008) who suggest that the dissimilarity in physical reaction of solids to temperature alterations is the result of the differences in their chemical compositions. They also note that in addition to chemical composition of the solids, different solids posses dissimilar physical and chemical bonds that afford them the evident physical properties. Tilley (2005) notes that substances such as diamonds posses a characteristic of a hard physical impression and have dismal reaction to temperature changes while ice is relatively susceptible to physical change in the event of temperature alterations.
Hardness has been defined differently by different scholars. According to Tillmann, Valerio & Silva (2008), hardness can be defined as the capacity of a solid substance to offer reasonable opposition to the effects of scratching. Scholars have come up with varied procedures which can be used in the estimation of a material’s hardness. However, Tillmann, Valerio and Silva (2008) note that the Moh’s scale is the most accurate procedure. With respect to temperature effects, the hardness of a material is increasingly dependent on the relative temperature of exposure. Consequently, depending on the structural bonds of the solid, some materials like carbonated rocks decompose in the presence of increased temperatures to form solids that offer an increasing resistance to scratching (Tillmann, Valerio & Silva, 2008).
Some solids are however not responsive to low temperature. Tillmann, Valerio & Silva (2008) identified diamond as one of such solids noting that it does not respond when subjected to low temperatures. However, at industrial processing level temperatures that are in the range of thousands of degree Celsius, it shows signs of response to temperature changes. However, the solid remains hard and non-responsive to scratching.
Similarly, studies have shown that solids are susceptible to external push and pull effects. Mei & Lu (2007) suggest that solid properties such as malleability and ductility are critical cases that result from external pull and push incidences. Notably, the property that determines the extent of such results is the elastic property which has also been defined differently by different scholars. Mei & Lu (2007), for example, define elasticity as the determinant of the extent of a solid’s resumption of its original shape in the aftermath of a push or pull incidence. They observe that a higher percentage of solids show evident signs of elasticity. Under alternating temperature situations, materials offer an incessant ability to expand or shrink and return to the original state.
Mei & Lu (2007) cite the instance of plastics that show considerable increments in elasticity with increments in temperatures. However, under uncontrolled thermal sources the material easily undergoes a permanent deformation. Physicists call this point the material’s elastic limit. Hirth & Kubin (2009) agree that a material’s ability to respond to elasticity has an increasing dependency on its operational temperatures. They cite the use of conveyor belts in high temperature applications like cement processing where there are multiple applications of high strength and highly inelastic conveyor belts. Evidently, the material construct must show credible inelasticity in presence of alternating temperature conditions.
In their study of dislocations in solids, Hirth & Kubin (2009) suggest that the physical responses that solids such as metals exhibit in the face of alternating temperature situations have enormous significance in the processing industry. Reportedly, temperature considerably effects physical deformations in solids. Examples of such properties of solids affected by temperature include their malleability and ductility aspects. Hirth & Kubin (2009) note that while certain materials like aluminum exhibit substantial malleability attributes, there is an enormous enhancement of such attributes under controlled exposures to temperatures. Hirth & Kubin (2009) suggest that iron alloys are intrinsically ductile solids. They are easily drawn into wires of dissimilar diameters and lengths. However, in industrial setup the processing of huge chunks of iron roads employs controlled application of heat to enhance their ductility aspects.
In general, solids exhibit considerable shifting properties under controlled instances of temperature. This capacity to manipulate the essential properties of solids through the application of heat forms a critical part of industrial processing of materials. Hirth & Kubin (2009) suggest that most industrial applications rely on the ability to alter the physical properties of solids through change of form and state to realize the desired products. Evidently, this employs huge control systems to ensure steady applications of the desired thermal values at the correct production points to realize a desired product. Similarly, with the incessant reliance on solid-state control devices, much research is ongoing on the varied ways of curtailing the temperature responses of solids to permit the usage of certain controlling technologies at higher temperature applications. However, this requires the investigation of other non-physical temperature dependant properties of solids.
Thermal Properties of Solids
From the above discussion it is evident that numerous physical properties of solids change in the presence of alterations in temperatures within the vicinity of the said substance. Sirdeshmukh & Subhadra (2006) suggest that thermal effects on solids entail a substantial change in the internal energy pattern of the particular solid. Reportedly, the extent of deformation of the energy pattern depends on the level of thermal change and the source of the change. Evidently, the implication of this is that the greater the temperature difference, the more enormous the deformation of the solid’s energy patterns. Sirdeshmukh & Subhadra (2006) observe that in cases of thermal equilibrium amid the solid and its internal systems have characteristic dismal alterations. Evidently, given the balance nature of both the internal and external energy patterns, the existent thermal gradient is almost zero.
In the case of extensive gradient amid the internal and the external patterns, there are greater perturbations resulting in considerable deformation of the intrinsic solid energy arrangements. Sirdeshmukh & Subhadra (2006) suggest that such distorted energy patterns are presented by marked observable changes within the solid. These include such evidence of physical alterations as a phase change like the instance of melting of a solid structure. Others include dimension alterations such as thermal expansion or contraction, elastic and plastic property alteration, decomposition, oxidation and in some cases, ignition. Noticeably, thermal stresses result from the created temperature gradient and may establish such effects as plastic deformation of the solid specimen. Sirdeshmukh & Subhadra (2006) suggest that ductile and brittleness properties are highly susceptible to extensive gradients. This is in line with the discussed physical property alteration in the prior subheading.
In their assessment of thermal characteristics, Chaplot, Mittal & Cloudhury (2010) observe that temperature change varies from solid to solid. For instance, the materials utilized in the construction of thermometers have the characteristic of enormous temperature resistance. Similarly, other properties have rampant reactance to increments in temperature and find valuable applications in the measurement of dismal changes brought by detectable but dismal temperature rise. Apart from temperature, other solid properties such as density have a direct bearing on the specific solid’s thermal reactance. Chaplot, Mittal & Cloudhury (2010) suggest that density values are significant in the determination of absolute thermal effect resulting from temperature changes. Evidently, the establishment of thermodynamic models that enlighten on the varied thermal aspects of the solid depends on the specific density of the considered solid. Noticeably, accurate measures of the component result from resonant response consideration of the solid specimen (Antonov & Harmon, 2004).
Thermal capacity is a similarly significant temperature dependent solid property that borrows heavily from a solid thermal composition. Chaplot, Mittal & Cloudhury (2010) denote that equilibrium offsets play a significant role in the establishment of a solids thermal ability. Consequently, the Fourier model has found enormous applications in the establishment of thermal conductivity values. Chaplot, Mittal & Cloudhury (2010) suggest that if the varied physical properties of the solid are extensively considered the results present considerable accuracy. Lastly, another significant aspect of thermal characteristic of solids that is heavily dependent on temperature alterations is heat flux. Chaplot, Mittal & Cloudhury (2010) suggest that the principles of heat transfer enlist heat flux as an essential component of the transfer equation. Noticeably, from the transfer equations, heat flux measurement has a basis on equilibrium conditions.
Temperature and Electrical Conductivity
The effects of temperature on electrical conductivity are evident in the elaborate cooling systems that find wide range applications in numerous electrical devices both in residential and industrial setups. Antonov & Harmon (2004) observe that from electrical theory the interaction amid the perturbations that emanate from alteration in the energy patterns of a solid and its respective resistance to electric flow highlights this effect. However, not all materials are electrical conductors. Antonov & Harmon (2004) suggest that certain materials offer complete resistance to the flow of electric current. Noticeably, such materials present absolute resistance even with increased temperatures. Evidently, these classes of solids find significant applications in power utility circuitry as insulators. This notwithstanding, a wide variety of solids posses the ability of electrical conduction and are increasingly influenced by the material’s temperature ranges.
Classically, the effect of temperature on the conductivity of electricity varies considerably with the types of conductor considered. Antonov & Harmon (2004) suggest that the effects are dissimilar in both semi-conductors and mainstream conductors class of metals. Indeed, the mechanical construct of both classes of solids bears a significant dissimilarity from each other. Antonov & Harmon (2004) suggest that the Drude’s model finds extensive applications in the enlightenment in the exploratory study of the thermal effect of electric conductivity in metals. On the other hand, models such as the Fermi-Dirac frameworks give statistical analysis of the thermal effect of conductance in nonmetallic conductors. Antonov & Harmon (2004) suggest that the Boltzmann factor is imperative in the modeling of conduction frameworks in semi-conductors.
According to Antonov & Harmon (2004), the Drude’s model proves the correlation amid temperature changes and rate of electrical conduction. Apparently, temperature alterations affect the resistance of the solid to electrical conductance. The model suggests that the resistance offered by the specimen solid to electrical conduction is dependent on both the initial resistance as well as temperature of consideration. This model shows that there are levels of thermal gradient that establish a decrease in electrical conduction by solids. Contrary to the case of metallic conductors, Antonov & Harmon (2004) suggest that the conduction in semi-conductors results in steep increments in conduction with increased thermal gradient. Noticeably, the increase in thermal gradient facilitates the formation of more charge carriers that facilitates electrical conduction.
Another property of solids that depends heavily on temperatures is magnetism. Sirdeshmukh & Subhadra (2006) observe that magnetism is a property that characterizes all solids and all materials. Noticeably, depending on the levels of magnetic property, a solid is classifiable as a diamagnetic, paramagnetic or Ferromagnetic, (Sirdeshmukh & Subhadra, 2006). These three classes have an immense dependence on temperature. In ferromagnetic solids, magnetic characters diminish with increments in thermal gradient. This has the implication that at higher temperatures there is an increasingly bigger loss in magnetism in comparison to lower temperatures and lower gradients.
Conductivity of Solids in Comparison with that of Other Substances
The rate at which heat can be transferred therefore depends upon two factors. These include the material’s thermal conductivity and the gradient of the temperature to which the material has been subjected. Sirdeshmukh & Subhadra (2006) made it clear that there are wide variations in the ability of solids to conduct heat. First, compared to gases, solids are better conductors of heat. This is because gases can only transfer heat when molecules are involved in a direct collision. This makes their thermal conductivity to be lower than that of solids.
On the other hand, Sirdeshmukh & Subhadra (2006) note that for the non-metallic solids to be able to transfer heat, there has to be a condition with no net motion of the media. According to them, this is because the heat transfer through these materials occurs through lattice vibrations. Non-metals do not experience any motion when the energy is propagating through them. Finally, metals conduct heat more readily compared to non-metals. This has been explained by the fact that their mobile electrons taking part in conducting electricity is also capable of transferring heat.
From this write up it is established that several solid properties posses considerable temperature dependence. Such physical properties like hardness and brittleness as well as elasticity have limits past which there is substantial physical deformation. Additionally, such deformations may characterize enormous chemical alterations. Thermal property of a solid has a direct bearing on the temperature gradient to which a solid specimen is exposed. Consequently, such thermal gradients have a bearing on the magnetic and electric properties of the considered solid. Lastly, the varied properties of solids that are increasingly dependent on temperature changes is applicable in numerous industrial set ups. Evidently, the processing of numerous industrial products depends on their ability to deform under a considerable temperature gradient.