Astrophysics (Index)About

refractory material

(refractory)
(material with high condensation temperature)

In astrophysical usage (e.g., planetary science, such as theories of planet formation) refractory material is material that becomes solid at a high temperature, thus turns solid early if it is cooling. Other material is called volatile material. The material in question can be a pure chemical element (refractory element or volatile element), or it can be a compound (refractory compound or volatile compound). A commonly-used line between the two is turning solid above/below 1300 K. For example, iron is moderately refractory and lithium is moderately volatile.

The more general meaning of refractory is "heat resistant". Also, astrophysics uses the term condensation and condensation temperature to refer to the material becoming solid as it cools whereas the word condensation typically refers to gas cooling and turning to liquid. I suspect this is because in the overall picture, an intervening liquid phase might be a mere detail.


(physics,chemistry,planet formation)
Further reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refractory_(planetary_science)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refractory

Referenced by pages:
potassium/thorium ratio (K/Th ratio)
volatile material

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