Lawley, Alan Department of Materials Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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One of a number of techniques used in the preparation of high-purity materials. The technique is capable of producing very low impurity levels, namely, parts per million or less in a wide range of materials, including metals, alloys, intermetallic compounds, semiconductors, and inorganic and organic chemical compounds. In principle, zone refining takes advantage of the fact that the solubility level of an impurity is different in the liquid and solid phases of the material being purified; it is therefore possible to segregate or redistribute an impurity within the material of interest. In practice, a narrow molten zone is moved slowly along the complete length of the specimen in order to effect the impurity segregation. See also: Solution; Solvent
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