The decomposition temperature describes the temperature at which chemical decomposition of a substance begins. This is generally achieved with thermal decomposition by adding energy in the form of heat. However, electric current, UV radiation or X-rays also break bonds within molecules and cause them to decompose. With the exclusion of oxidising agents such as atmospheric oxygen, decomposition can take place down to the elements from which the molecule is made up. In the case of ceramics, the decomposition temperature is influenced by the grain size and the type and amount of impurities in the material system.
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