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Boffins apply steel concepts to planetary model

THE STEELMAKING process could be the key to unlocking the secrets of the planets, according to researchers at Swinburne University of Technology.

Professor Geoff Brooks, Dr Sarah Maddison and Vianney Taquet are collaborating to use mathematical models from steelmaking to determine what compounds form during the initial stages of planet development.
According to the researchers, the science behind steelmaking is comparable to the process of planet formation. Steelmaking furnaces often contain molten metal with a layer of crust on top. Similarly, the centre of the Earth is made of molten metal, with an outer crust.
The university researchers are also taking know-how from the steel makers. For example, the industry has models that show how extremely high temperatures can determine the grade of steel that is produced.
An adapted process allows scientists to work backwards from a piece of metal to indicate the temperatures and processes which it has undergone. This could help in the analysis of meteorites.