Jan 28, 17 / Pis 00, 01 14:04 UTC

Metallic Hydrogen  

Researchers at Harvard have just announced that they have been able to manufacture a tiny piece of 'metallic' hydrogen. Although theorised in the 1930's this form of hydrogen has not been available on Earth until now. If this claim is valid and the properties of metallic hydrogen are the same as the theoretical properties this will have a profound on the future development of electronics as the 'metal' will be a superconductor at room temperatures. In addition, for Asgardia metallic hydrogen offers up the potential for a true space nation both in reducing the costs of launches and exploration of the solar system. Let us hope that these potential benefits are realised and the technology develops to enable the large scale manufacture of this substance.

Jan 30, 17 / Pis 02, 01 14:18 UTC


Unfortunately, metallic hydrogen requires some rather exotic conditions to exist- namely, extreme pressure. These properties are not conductive to current or near-future practical application of this material, particularly in space, where reliability is not just an ideal- it is a requirement. While an interesting experiment, unless they can produce metallic hydrogen in either space or normal atmospheric conditions, it will not prove particularly useful to us. If we wanted to use superconducting materials in our power grid, we would be better served to use extant superconductors- although again the low-temperature requirement for modern superconductors would mean that we'd be using more power cooling the power lines than we'd save from the zero resistance. That being said, I'm very hopeful that there will be considerable discoveries in room-temperature superconducting technology- not just for Asgardia, but for the Earth, as well. The possibilities of room-temperature superconductors are nigh-endless.

Regards, InsanityOS

Jan 31, 17 / Pis 03, 01 14:56 UTC

It is true that the researchers have used extreme pressure to create the tiny amounts of metallic hydrogen they have produced but they have stated that they are "hopeful" that the "metal" will retain its structure at room temperatures similar to the way carbon forms as a diamond when the pressure is released and retains its structure following the extreme pressure that is necessary to form the crystal - early days for this research but it looks promising.

Feb 1, 17 / Pis 04, 01 14:17 UTC

I do hope you are right, as metallic hydrogen does seem to be an excellent alternative construction material, given how light it is. Still, even if it is stable after creation, it will likely be prohibitively expensive for a few decades, until the infrastructure for its "refinement" exceeds the demand. Think about carbon fibre- because we still can't mass-produce it like we would steel or concrete, its use is confined to certain niche uses- sporting equipment and similar applications. Perhaps if and when we build later city-stations, we'll use metallic hydrogen, but for the near future, we'll have to stick to more mundane materials.

Actually, now that I think about it, carbon nanotube presents a reasonably good candidate material for space station construction in the relatively near future. I assume that we'll sooner rather than later develop more efficient means of producing it, so hopefully, it will become much cheaper in the near future. However, until then, we'll be confined to extant space alloys.