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Long Theorized Metallic Hydrogen Produced

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 01:17PM

There are a number of elements on the Periodic Table that will display very unusual properties under the right conditions. Hydrogen, the simplest element, has long been theorized to be one of these elements, and thanks to researchers at Harvard University we may soon start confirming some of those theories and revolutionizing various fields. What the researchers have done is successfully created metallic hydrogen.

Hydrogen is one of the diatomic elements, which means they want to be in molecule pairs, so the molecules in hydrogen gas consist of two atoms, H2. (Oxygen and nitrogen are also diatomic elements, so their natural, gaseous forms are as the molecules O2 and N2.) When you freeze hydrogen into a solid, it will stay in these molecular pairs, but it has been theorized that if you apply enough pressure, the molecular bonds will break, producing atomic metallic hydrogen. To produce metallic hydrogen the researchers applied some 495 gigapascal (GPa), and for comparison standard atmosphere pressure is a little over 100 KPa, or 0.000001 GPa. Because of how much energy is invested to break those bonds, when the atoms are allowed to bind back together, as massive amount of energy could be released, making this a potentially very powerful rocket fuel.

Another possible use for metallic hydrogen could be as a superconductor, as it is expected to be one and might even be able to survive at room temperature and pressure. That depends on how stable the solid is though, which will take some more analysis to confirm, but that work is definitely going to be done.



Source: Harvard University

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AkakmanH on February 05, 2017 15:27
Totally fascinating - thanks...........

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