Experimentally Examining Earth’s Core’s Electron Movement

It is a very well known fact that the Earth has a magnetic field, and that the source of this field is the iron core at the centre of the planet. But under further scrutiny this makes very little sense. Although iron can become a magnet at high temperatures the arranged dipoles that are essential for magnetism scatter. The temperature this happens at is called the Curie temperature and is 770°C for iron and is far below the 6000°C of the Earth’s core. This means more elaborate theories had to be constructed involving dynamic action of the outer core moving around the inner core to create a pseudo dynamo and so on and so forth.

This means that other qualities about the core need to be known accurately other than just chemical composition. The properties of materials can change drastically at high pressures and so research has to be done on all aspects of iron in this state. Recently it was completed for the conductivity of iron. By using a diamond anvil cell (a device that crushes something between the points of two diamonds) to get hundreds of gigapascals (1×109) of pressure exerted on the iron it was then possible to measure the resistivity, and by inverting, the conductivity. This is in effect the measure of electron movement throughout the metal lattice and so this research can be used to predict both the electrical and the thermal conductivity existing in the Earth’s core.

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