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Shock full of nuts.

Shock full of nuts

A supercritical fluid is a substance that has been heated and compressed so that it exists neither as a liquid nor as a vapor but as a combination of the two states with its own distinctive properties. Such fluids are often excellent solvents and are used commercially for processes such as extracting caffeine from coffee beans. However, conventional techniques for bringing a fluid to its critical point are slow and expensive, taking as long as 36 hours. As an alternative, Philip A. Thompson of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., suggests the use of shock waves, which can bring a fluid to its critical point in less than a millisecond. Thompson has been using the shock-wave technique in his laboratory to study the behavior of supercritical fluids.
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Title Annotation:shock waves used to bring fluid to critical point
Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 5, 1987
Words:133
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