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Homemade Silica Aerogel

Aerogels are fascinating materials, with lots of interesting and, frankly, amazing properties, but they are not easy to make. These days, industrial manufacture with an eye towards commercial applications, primarily as thermal insulators, is bringing the price down some, at least for granules, but larger pieces still cost around $50... Read more »

What Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Looks Like

At extremes of temperature and pressure above a substance's so-called "critical point," the distinction between liquid and gas phases of that substance stops being meaningful, and the substance enters a homogeneous "supercritical" phase. For many substances, supercritical temperatures and pressures are difficult to achieve, and that's doubly true if you're... Read more »

Thermite BBQ

"I ignited four pounds of thermite made with aluminum / iron (III) oxide in a flower pot. The thermite reaction quickly formed liquid iron which dripped down out of the pot, and into a ceramic pan. I put a beef kebab directly onto the liquid iron, which cooked the food... Read more »