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November 19th, 2003
Jolts turn liquid to solid
The three states of matter -- solid, liquid and gas -- are usually quite distinct. Researchers from Hong Kong University in China, however, have blurred the lines with a liquid concoction that ordinarily has the viscosity of silicone oil, but in the presence of an electric field becomes as solid as hard rubber. The method employs a relatively new ingredient -- nanoparticles -- to bring about an especially strong electrorheological effect.
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