Some Elements Can be Liquid and Solid at the Same Time
We tend to think of elements as being either in liquid or in solid state. But now scientists are finding that in extreme environments they may be in both states.
This new state is called the chain-melted state. The state of an element depends on its temperature and the pressure it is under.
In general, matter goes from solid to liquid to gas. But in extreme circumstances, all kinds of weird things begin to happen.
Take, for instance, potassium at 2 gigapascals of pressure and temperatures of more than 400 Kelvin. In those conditions, the atoms rearrange themselves into a state that is both liquid and solid.
That is what some researchers found out and SciShow explains the discovery in this video. Using a computer simulation, scientists calculated exactly how the potassium behaves in these extreme conditions.
One of the researchers described the state "as a wet sponge if the sponge was also made out of water." And the research revealed it is indeed a steady enough state to be considered a state and not a transition.
Furthermore, it is not just potassium that could be in that state but other elements as well. This is exciting news because the simulation can help us understand what is going on in areas of the Universe where we don't have access like the Earth's mantle.