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Multi-Anvil Press


Writer(s): Steve Scherer


One of the heaviest instruments to ever reside in our Chemistry buildings was delivered in October. The Walker Multi-Anvil press weighs 11,000 pounds and will be used by Assistant Professor Corey Thompson to generate high pressure in his laboratory.

“Due to weight restrictions of the freight elevator, the ram - weighing nearly 1500 pounds - had to be removed in order to safely get the press into the Brown Lab basement,” explained Thompson, an inorganic chemist.

When the system is installed, it will be capable of simultaneously applying high pressure and high temperature in a single experiment, achieving pressures of 250 kbar (= 25 Gpa or 3,625,943 psi) and temperatures up to 3000°C (5432°F).

“Most instruments like these are housed in Earth Science laboratories to study properties of the Earth’s crust. Our goal is to take advantage of its capabilities to develop novel metastable materials that are impossible to make under ambient conditions. These new materials should allow us to access a new realm of materials and provide insight into their properties,” said Thompson.

The next step for the Thompson Research Group is hooking it up and getting proper training on the instrument.

“In the upcoming weeks, we will be visiting the lab of Professor David Walker, a geochemist at Columbia University, who is a pioneer in developing this system,” said Thompson.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Multi-anvil press photo

The Multi-Anvil Press arrives on a semi-trailer outside Brown Lab.

Multi-anvil press photo

Dr. Thompson and Aaron Harkleroad of the Chemistry Maintenance Shop watch the press being unpacked.

Multi-anvil press photo

The ram of the instrument had to be removed to lighten the weight of the press.

Multi-anvil press photo 

Conforming to the weight restrictions of the elevator, the press is moved to the basement.

Multi-anvil press photo 

The Multi-Anvil Press in its final location in the Brown Lab basement.