90 percent of us are well familiar with the famous three states of matter called liquid, gas, and solid. However, according to new research, a new state of matter has been discovered where matter can exist in the form of solid and liquid simultaneously.
The very common metal ‘potassium; has the ability to exist at both states if treated in a specific way.
Physicists exerted a high level of pressure and temperature on to the metal that makes it possible for the potassium to exist in molten and solid states. Andreas Hermann, a physicist informed National Geographic that: “It would be like holding a sponge filled with water that starts dripping out, except the sponge is also made of water.”
In order to go into depths of this, a team of scientists employed the use of artificial intelligence and strong computer simulations to scrutinize the behavior of nearly 20 thousand potassium atoms exposed under extreme conditions. When the temperature and the pressure are extremely high enough i.e. around two to four GigaPascal, the atoms of Potassium rearrange themselves in an interlinked lattices & chains.
There is a strong chemical interaction within the lattice atoms, thus they stay in an ordered and rigid solid form. However, when the temperature between 4 to 8 hundred is applied the chains start melting into a disordered liquid state. Hence, scientists have now named this new state as the ‘Chain-melted phase’
Hermann stated: “Potassium is one of the simplest metals we know, yet if you squeeze it, it forms very complicated structures. We have shown that this unusual but stable state is part solid and part liquid. Recreating this unusual state in other materials could have all kinds of applications.”
A study published in the journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Science’ reveals that there are more than half a dozen elements inclusive of bismuth and sodium which are capable of existing in this newly discovered state.