Science & Technology
Metallic hydrogen created for the first time
January 27, 2017 | 16 comments
The hydrogen was subjected to immense pressures. Image Credit: R. Dias and I.F. Silvera
Scientists have succeeded in squeezing hydrogen to such an extreme that is has turned in to a metal.
The remarkable breakthrough was made by two researchers at Harvard University who used diamonds to squeeze a hydrogen sample to pressures greater than those at the Earth's core.
It's a result that was predicted over 80 years ago by Eugene Wigner and Hillard Bell Huntington, two scientists who determined that at sufficient enough pressures it was possible to turn hydrogen in to a metal - something that was impossible to prove at the time.
"If this experiment is reproducible, it solves experimentally one of the major outstanding problems in all of physics," said Jeffrey McMahon from Washington State University.
The scientists behind the achievement now predict that metallic hydrogen, once created, may actually remain in either a solid or liquid state even at normal temperatures and pressures.
It is so dense in fact that it could even prove to be an effective replacement for rocket fuel.
Source: New Scientist
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