Department of Physics and Engineering
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Projects on
Diffusion in Solids

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Heath Stewart (2005) and Josh Keane (2002) studied diffusion of impurities in silver chloride. Heath's impurity was cadmium and Josh's impurity was calcium.

They obtained a radioactive isotope of the impurity dissolved in an acidic solution. They put several drops of the solution on the top surface of a cylindrical sample of silver chloride. Then they placed the crystal in a hot furnace for several hours.

They used sandpaper to grind down the crystal to obtain a graph of activity as a function of depth from the surface. After multiple trials at different temperatures, we were able to create an Arrhenius plot, which gave us a value for the activation energy for the particular impurity.