HomeAstronomyExtreme physics of 'supercritical' matter may be surprisingly simple

Extreme physics of ‘supercritical’ matter may be surprisingly simple

When under a great deal of heat and pressure, matter goes “supercritical,” and the difference between liquid and gas seems to disappear. Now, new research finds that matter at this extreme supercritical state is less complicated than scientists previously thought. In fact, there are liquid-like and gas (opens in new tab)-like states in supercritical materials, and the tipping point between the two is surprisingly consistent across matter. This may mean that there are universal rules governing these states across different types of materials.

“The asserted universality of the supercritical matter opens a way to a new physically transparent picture of matter at extreme conditions,” study co-author Kostya Trachenko, a physicist at Queen Mary University of London, said in a statement (opens in new tab). “This is an exciting prospect from the point of view of fundamental physics as well as understanding and predicting supercritical properties in green environmental applications, astronomy and other areas.”

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