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Name: Celeste
Status: student
Grade: 4-5
Location: CA
Country: USA
Date: Fall 2011


Question:
If you were to send a probe to the surface of Venus, which materials could be used to withstand its intense pressure?



Replies:
Hi Celeste,

While a well designed housing in many common materials can withstand intense pressure, the surface temperature of 460°C on Venus, does present a challenge for suitable materials. Clearly, aluminum and its alloys are unable to withstand this temperature, but many common metals and alloys are. Examples of metals able to withstand this temperature are plain ordinary steel, many ordinary stainless steel alloys, as well as some of the more exotic cobalt/nickel alloys such as "Inconel".

The real challenge, however, is not designing the structure of the probe to withstand Venus' high temperature. The real difficulty is to design a way to protect its sensitive instruments from this temperature. Regards,

Bob Wilson


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