A new state of matter

A team of scientists working at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom (UK) has stumbled upon a new state of matter that is neither wholly solid nor liquid but is instead a bit of both. Such a state of matter can be found under conditions of extreme temperature and pressure.

In school, you have all learnt about how matter exists in three states-solid, liquid and gas. What scientists have now found out is that the metal potassium, when it is subjected to extremely high pressure (20,000-40,000 times what we experience normally) and high temperatures (125-525 degrees Celcius), it enters a combination solid-liquid state. What would that be like? “It would be like holding a sponge filled with water that starts dripping out, except the sponge is also made of water”, said one of the scientists involved with the study.

Where can the metal experience such conditions on earth? It’s possible deep inside earth where the pressure of the rock layers on top can cause materials to change their structure. Such discoveries will therefore help us understand what is happening deep within planets and stars, and may also provide humans with interesting materials to work with in future.