Scientists simulate the high pressures and temperatures of planetary interiors to measure their physical properties. Yingwei Fei studies the composition and structure of planetary interiors with high-pressure instrumentation, including the multi-anvil apparatus, the piston cylinder, and the diamond anvil cell.

The Earth was formed through energetic and dynamic processes. Giant impacts, radioactive elements, and gravitational energy heated the planet in its early stage, melting materials and paving the way for the silicate mantle and metallic core to separate. As the planet cooled and solidified, geochemical and geophysical “fingerprints” developed as the mantle and core differentiated, magma solidified, and other early processes.

Yingwei Fei examines materials at high pressure and temperature in the lab. He is interested in phase transitions—what happens when materials change from liquid to solid to gas—what is behind elements separating and their melting relations, and chemical reactions and physical properties of these materials. His experimental research is used to interpret geochemical and geophysical observations of our planet and is applicable to geophysics, petrology, mineral physics, and planetary sciences.

Researchers in his lab use various high-pressure techniques. The Piston-cylinder simulates the upper mantle, while the multi-anvil device simulate the mantle. To conduct experiments at temperatures within the deep Earth, he uses various heating techniques included laser.

Fei received a BSc in geochemistry from Zhejiang University, China, and he obtained a Ph.D. in geochemistry from City University of New York. He was both a pre and postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie, then a fellow at the Norton Company before becoming a staff associate at Carnegie in 1991. In 1996 he joined the senior scientific staff.




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