This question came up when I was reading about substances with negative thermal expansion. The article by Takenaka [1] gives a good list of materials displaying negative thermal expansion. I noticed that almost all the substances mentioned are alloys or crystals, with not a single pure metal included.

This raised the question: Do all metals expand on heating? If so, why? If not, give an example of a metal that contracts on heating.


  1. Takenaka, K. Negative Thermal Expansion Materials: Technological Key for Control of Thermal Expansion. Sci. Technol. Adv. Mater. 2012, 13 (1), 013001. DOI: 10.1088/1468-6996/13/1/013001.
  • $\begingroup$ @andselisk how do you get that "reference" text? Do you copy it from somewhere or do you type it out manually? $\endgroup$ May 16, 2020 at 15:46
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    $\begingroup$ There sure are also pure metals like that, as mentioned in earlier answer. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    May 16, 2020 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ @AniruddhaDeb I use Zotero and ACS style file. There is also a simplified online version, ZoteroBib, if you don't feel like installing and configuring stuff. $\endgroup$
    – andselisk
    May 16, 2020 at 15:52
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    $\begingroup$ Depends on the temperature range. Many pure metals do some odd things at low temperature. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    May 16, 2020 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ From andselisk's answer^ "(...) certain liquid-solid phase transitions are accompanied by negative thermal expansion (NTE). This also includes elements (Si,Ga,Ge,Sb,Bi,Pu) - your question is subset to earlier one and metals are also "materials". $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    May 16, 2020 at 16:25


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