Relation between metal properties and historical incidents: A demonstration of metal burning and cooling experiments

Year: 2015 DOI: 10.12691/wjce-3-5-3

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Ryo Horikoshi, Takeshi Yajima, Yoji Kobayashi, Hiroshi Kageyama.   World Journal of Chemical Education, 2015, 3, 120-123.


We have described a demonstration to introduce the relation between metal properties and historical incidents through metal burning and cooling experiments. In the demonstration, three different metals are burned in an oxygen atmosphere to test the theory that the high combustion heat of aluminum may have increased the fire-induced damage on a warship in the Falklands war. Based on the observations of the metal burning experiments, the relation between the heats of formation of materials and the fire-induced damage on the warship can be discussed. Three metal wires are then cooled using dry ice to demonstrate the relation between the low temperature-induced brittleness of carbon steel and the sinking of cargo ships in World War II. Following the metal cooling experiments, the brittleness and its relevance to crystal lattice structures of metals can be discussed.