Scientists work on amazing things, and one of the most intriguing and exciting recent developments is the possibility of creating metallic hydrogen.
Image credit: Randy Montoya/Sandia National Labs
Provide enough pressure (measured in ‘atmospheres’) and almost anything can become incredibly dense, strong and indestructible (ever heard of a black hole?). In the 1930s, the theory was that only about 250,000 atmospheres of pressure would be enough to create a stable form of metallic hydrogen. But looking at the chart below, that figure is waaayyyyyyyy off. By a lot.
Image Source: I.F. Silvera/Harvard University
And hydrogen in a metallic form is not as wild and crazy an idea as some may believe, since there may be a few locations within our own Solar system that may have inexhaustible amounts of it: the centers of gaseous giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn. Each of these behemoths have many many times the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere within the top layers of their own atmospheres, so imagine how exponentially greater the pressures may be going further and further, closer and closer towards the core of each of these planets…possibly perfect locations for metallic hydrogen.
This special type of metal may be a holy grail of sorts as a superconducting material, even at very high temperatures, if a stable form of the metallic hydrogen can be created. Read more to whet your science appetite.
And if you want to get REALLY technical, have at it: