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Name: Robert
Status: student
Grade: 6-8
Location: CA



Question:
What type of material could withstand deep underwater pressure?


Replies:
Many materials can withstand very high pressure, but they must be designed properly. Steel and other similar metals come to mind first. Stone and ceramics (high compressive strength) could also be able to withstand high pressures. Even glass and plastics could be made to work if designed properly. Ultimately, what you are trying to do at high pressure will determine what materials would be the best fit.

Hope this helps,
Burr Zimmerman


Robert,

This is a somewhat misleading question as the design or shape of the material has a lot to do with resisting crushing. For example, an open soda can will not deform since the inside pressure is the same as the outside pressure (the ocean water gets into the can). However a sealed soda can will get crushed as the inside pressure of the soda eventually becomes overwhelmed by the outside pressure of the ocean. Also, fish (made of soft flesh) survive in ocean depths -again suggesting that it is not so much the material as the design that keeps the object from getting crushed.

Everything else (shape, design, internal pressure, etc.) being equal though, and not caring what the cost or how light the material is or whether it can be easily shaped, you would want a material that does not deform (bend or twist) easily -this way its shape is retained. Most ceramic composites and metal alloys will satisfy such a requirement.

Greg (Roberto Gregorius)



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