Hydrogen is Now Metallic

By Austin Durkin

Science is a set of laws, theories, and hypotheses that are ever changing as we advance in technology and creative, crazy ideas. One of those crazy ideas was the thought that we could make hydrogen metallic, which was predicted in the 1930s by Eugene Wigner and Hillard Bell Huntington. In only a little over 80 years, they were able to crack the theory and develop this unnatural metal. Isaac Silvera and Ranga Dias of Harvard University published these results around a month ago.

There procedure was very complicated, yet it can be explained very simply. The Harvard team took two heavy diamonds and compressed gaseous hydrogen. Then it was liquified by dropping the temperature to -252°C (-423°F). After that was accomplished, it was then gradually put under pressure by a giant steel screw, which twisted the diamond anvil closer together. At 2 million atmospheres, the hydrogen stayed transparent. At 4 million atmospheres, the hydrogen become non-transparent, or opaque, and black in color. At around 4.95 million atmospheres, the hydrogen reflected 90 percent of the light shone on it. This classified it as metallic. This was the first time on all of planet earth that metallic hydrogen has ever existed.

At the moment this is just an accomplishment. It’s something that we can say “we did it” to until it becomes more functional. Once we’re able to make this functional, the possibilities for its uses are endless. This may only be a large feat that was accomplished now but soon this could change anything and everything about electronics, construction, and basically human life.