Metallic Hydrogen: Rocket Fuel Of The Future?

A pair of scientists claim to have produced the world's first metallic hydrogen, something that's long been thought of as theoretically possible but rather tricky to actually achieve. The Royal Society For Chemistry reports that Mikhail Eremets and Ivan Troyan of the Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz claim to have succeeded in creating metallic hydrogen through immense pressures and low temperatures; we're talking 220GPa and 30K, which is hardly an easy thing to achieve in itself. Under those conditions, Eremets and Troyan discovered that the resistance of the hydrogen increased by 20 per cent, indicating that it may be displaying characteristics of a metal.

Science being science, there's some debate about all of this; the article notes that metallic hydrogen should perhaps have much greater resistance, to the tune of some 4,000 per cent.

If they can crack it, however, it opens up a whole host of possibilities, from room temperature superconductors to high powered rocket fuel. [RSC via Geekosystem]

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