Science: Melted!

At the Bureau of Standards, Washington, thorium oxide, most resistant to heat of all known substances, was melted (for the first time in history) by C. O. Fairchild and C. G. Peters. Platinum melts at a temperature of about 3,200 degrees Fahrenheit, but that does not begin to phase thorium oxide. Its melting point is probably over 6,000 degrees, which, of course, no thermometer can measure. It is used commercially in gas mantles. A gas flame does not affect it, but an electric arc may. The oxide does, however, shrink in volume at high...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!