Crystal Structure of Methane


In view of the discovery by Clusius of a transformation-point of solid methane at 20.4° K, it was interesting to investigate if there is a change of crystal structure or not. Heuse made a dilatometric examination of the transformation and found the very small volume contraction of 2 per mille, suggesting that the crystal structure is not altered. We have established this as a fact by making two X-ray exposures with solid methane at 21.1° K and 18.5° K respectively. The films were concordant within the limits of accuracy; they can be explained by assuming this structure to be a cubic close-packed one, the side of the elementary cube being 5.88 A. The calculated density 0.52 is in perfect agreement with the value measured by Heuse.

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MOOY, H. Crystal Structure of Methane. Nature 127, 707 (1931).

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