Further Measurements Of The Effects Of Pressure On Resistance (1920)(en)(4s) [PDF]

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SEPTEMBER 15, 1920

Number 9


In a previous paper' data for the effect of pressures up to 12000 kg/cm2 on the resistance of 22 metals were given. It has now been possible to extend the results to 18 more elements, and 6 alloys. The extension has been made possible by two changes in the technique. In the first place, by a change in the method of leading electrical connections into the pressure chamber it has been possible to replace the previous method of measuring resistance with a Carey Foster bridge by a potentiometer method. This makes it possible to measure accurately specimens whose total resistance is very low, and removes the restriction that the specimen must be in the form of a fine wire. In the second place, by a modification in the design of the apparatus, it has been possible to considerably extend the temperature range. The resjults now cover a range from atmospheric to 12000 kg. pressure, and an extreme temperature range from 00 to 2750 C. In selecting the substances to be measured over this increased range I have paid particular attention to the matter of liquid metals. Previous to this, the effect of pressure on both the liquid and solid state was not known for a single metal. The resistance of metals in the liquid state would seem to be particularly worthy of study, because here the crystalline structure introduces no complications. Six elements have now been investigated in the liquid and the solid states. Furthermore, I have endeavored particularly to investigate some of the more unusual elements, in the expectation that elements from unusual parts of the periodic table might show new types of behavior. This attempt has been rewarded by the discovery of three more elements whose pressure coefficient of resistance is positive; bismuth and antimony were the only ones known previously. A number of commercial alloys have been included as being of some interest because of their wide use for scientific purposes. The measure505




ments on them had been already made for another purpose. The composition of the alloys is as follows:

Hoskins Mfg. Co.

Chromel A Chromel B Chromel C

Electrical Alloy Co.


Ni 80%, Cr 20%. Ni 85%, Cr 15%. Ni 64%, Cr 11%, Fe 25%.

Ni x%, Cr y%, Fe z%. Al 2%, Mn 13%, Cu 85 (this is like Man(Therlo Driver ganin). Harris Co. No. 192 Alloy Ni 30%, Cr 2%, Fe 68%. Only a very rough summary of the principle results of the measurements can be attempted here. The results will be published in full detail elsewhere. In the table are shown the average pressure coefficients to 12000 kg., and also the initial coefficients at atmospheric pressure. The numerical values of the table may be supplemented by the following remarks on various significant aspects of behavior. TABLE

EFFECT Substance



InstanMean taneous Pressure Coefficient, Pressure 0-12000 kg. Coefficient at 0 kg.

+0.0,772 +0.0,fi93 -0.0 345 -0: 04436 -0. 04604 -0. 04809a -0-.0,408 Mg, 0' Ca, 00................ +0.04106 Sr,0° ................ +0.04680 Hg, solid, 0'.......... -0. 04236b Hg, liquid, 25'........ -0.04219 Ga, liquid, 30'......... -0.06531 Ga, solid, 0'........... -0. O,247 Ti, 0'................ ± 0.061?? Zr, 0'................ -0.0640 a Average 0-9000 kg. b Average 7640-12000 kg. Average 0-7000 kg.

solid, 0'........... Li, liquid, 240°........ Na, solid, 0'.......... Na, liquid, 200'....... K, solid, 25'.......... K, liquid, 165'........ Li,


Instantaneous Coefficient, Pressure 0-12000 kg. Coefficient at 0 kg. Mean Pressure


+0.068 +0 .0,93

Bi, liquid, 275'........ As, 0'................


W, 0'................





0'................ 0'.

-0.0,168 Carbon, amorphous, 0'. -0. 0,447 Carbon, graphite, 0'... +0.04129 Si, 0'. +0.04502 Black phosphorus,


-0.0,33 -0.0,135 -0.0,331 -0. 0,213 -0.04100


+0. 047

-0.04117 0'...

Chromel A, 0'......... 0.04334 Chromel B, 0'......... -0. 0,640 Chromel C, 0'......... ........... Comet, 0'............. ........... Therlo, 0'............. --0. 0640 No. 193 alloy, 94'......


-0 04101c


-0.06134 -0.00169 -0.06427 -0.0.241 0,228 0.0,179 -0.

-0 .0,143 -0-.0,39

-0-.0,238 -0.04118 +0.0,77 ...........

-0.0W200 ........... ........... ...........

-0-. 0,263

-0.06236 ...........


With regard to purity, Ga was prepared under the direction of Professor T. W. Richards for atomic weight work, and had less than 0.01% impurity. The Na, K, Mg, Hg, Bi, W, and black phosphorus were also of high purity. The Ca contained about 0.1% impurity, and the impurity in the Li and Sr was of the order of 1%. The Ti and Zr were known to be impure with 1.8% and 0.6% of W respectively; the impurity may have been higher. Judging by the temperature coefficients of resistance, As,

Vol. 6, 1920



La, and Nd were considerably impure. The graphite was the best Acheson graphite, but the results were not reproducible. Similarly results with Si were not reproducible. All that can be expected of C and Si is the order of magnitude of the effect. Normal Solids.-The substances with negative pressure coefficients of resistance are Na, K, Mg, Hg, Ga, Ti, Zr, As, W, La, Nd, Si, and black phosphorus. Mg and W were previously measured. It is now possible to give better values because of increased purity of the specimens available. La and Nd are the first metals in the rare earth group whose pressure coefficients have been measured; they show no novel features. Ti .and Zr are also from a new region of the periodic table. The interesting feature of their behavior is the extreme smallness of the coefficient. Hg has not been previously measured in the solid state; its coefficient is somewhat greater than that of the liquid. Abnormal results were expected for gallium, because it expands when it freezes, but it was found instead to be quite normal. Arsenic might be anticipated to be abnormal because of its position in the periodic table relative to bismuth and antimony, but it turns out to be normal. Silicon, a non-metallic element, decreases in resistance, as is normal for metals, but the pressure coefficient becomes larger with increasing pressure and the temperature coefficient may reverse in sign at high pressures, both of which are abnormal features. Black phosphorus, also non-metallic, is remarkable for the very large size of the effect, the resistance decreasing under 12000 kg. to about 3% of its initial value. The relative coefficient, however, does not change so much as it does for some metals. Na and K are the first alkali metals whose pressure coefficients have been measured. They are remarkable for the largeness of the effect, which is larger than for any other metals as yet measured. Na decreases 40% and K 70% in resistance under 12000 kg. The pressure coefficient of these metals decreases greatly with increasing pressure and increases with increasing temperature, and the temperature coefficient decreases with increasing pressure. The metals previously measured have shown relatively little change in these coefficients. Abnormal Solids.-Three new elements have been found whose resistance increases under pressure; these are Li, Ca, and Sr. This was a great surprise because all of these metals are highly compressible. Withothe single exception of the variation with pressure of the pressure coefficient of strontium, the behavior of these three metals is like that of Bi and Sb in that the instantaneous pressure coefficient increases with increasing pressure and decreases with increasing temperature, and the temperature coefficient falls with rising pressure. Relative behavior of Resistance of Solid and Liquid.-The pressure coefficient of liquid bismuth is found to be negative and normal, although that of the solid is positive and abnormal. This points to the importance



PROe. N. A. S.

of crystalline structure in determining the variations of resistance. On the other hand the coefficient of lithium is abnormal in being positive in both the liquid and solid states. (The melting curve of Li was measured under pressure and found to be normal in that the solid expands on melting.) The magnitude of the coefficient of the solid is less than that of the liquid. Gallium is normal in the solid as well as in the liquid, and the coefficient of the liquid is much larger than that of the solid. The coefficient of liquid mercury is slightly less than that of solid mercury. The coefficients of liquid sodium and potassium are less than those of the solids, but by only small amounts. The relative decrease in the coefficients of these solids with pressure may be greater than the decrease of the liquid. Liquid potassium has an abnornal change in the sign of the variation of temperature coefficient with pressure and the pressure coefficient with temperature. All of the six metals measured in the solid and liquid state agreed in showing a relatively small change in the ratio of the resistance of liquid to solid along the melting curve from low to high pressure. Thus the change in the ratio of the resistance of liquid to solid potassium was from 1.56 to 1.55 under a pressure increase of 9700 kg. This pressure is sufficient to decrease the difference of volume between liquid and solid to 0.31 of its initial value. It seems to be universally true that the temperature coefficient of the liquid is less than that of the solid, and the change of resistance on melting is in the direction of the change of volume. Theoretical Implications.-The following remarks are only two of many that might be suggested by the data. It is probable, because of the peculiar nature of the atomic structure of lithium and the fact 'that its pressure coefficient of resistance is positive, that the picture of the mechanism of electrical conduction given by Wien and Lindemann as a space lattice of electrons sliding in the channels of a space lattice of atoms may have much of truth for this particular element. The new evidence now at hand does not make it necessary to modify the former point of view2 that for most elements the most important single factor in determining the variations of electrical resistance is the amplitude of atomic vibration. This investigation was assisted in large part by a generous grant from the Rumford Fund of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 1 Bridgman, P. W., Proc. Amer. Acad., Boston, 52, 1917, (573-646). 2 Bridgman, P. W., Physic. Rev., Ithaca, N. Y., 9, 1917 (269-289).

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