The First Room Temperature Superconductor! (Still No Hoverboards) | SciShow News | Summary and Q&A

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October 23, 2020
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The First Room Temperature Superconductor! (Still No Hoverboards) | SciShow News

TL;DR

Scientists have discovered the first room-temperature superconductor, which could revolutionize electricity usage, and researchers have developed a paint that stays cooler than its surroundings, potentially reducing the need for air conditioning and conserving energy.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is a superconductor, and why is the discovery of a room-temperature superconductor significant?

A superconductor is a substance that conducts electricity without losing energy. The discovery of a room-temperature superconductor is significant because it means that we could have super energy-efficient electricity and advancements in technologies such as particle accelerators and magnetically levitated trains without the need for extremely low temperatures.

Q: How was the room-temperature superconductor created, and why is it not ready for everyday use?

The room-temperature superconductor was created by squeezing together powdered carbon and sulfur at high pressures, exposing them to hydrogen gas, and using a laser. However, it only functions under extreme pressures, about two and a half million times the pressure experienced under the atmosphere, making it impractical for everyday use.

Q: What is the potential impact of the heat-reflecting paint developed by researchers?

The heat-reflecting paint made of calcium carbonate can reflect 95.5% of the sun's radiation. If used on buildings, especially those with large roofs, it could offset the reliance on air conditioning, conserve energy, and help protect the environment. It is also affordable to produce due to its common and inexpensive substance.

Q: What are the future plans for the room-temperature superconductor and the heat-reflecting paint?

Future plans for the room-temperature superconductor involve further research to determine its molecular structure and how to create better versions. Longer-term tests will be conducted on the heat-reflecting paint to evaluate its durability and effectiveness in various outdoor conditions.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Scientists have created the first room-temperature superconductor, which conducts electricity with zero resistance at temperatures as high as 15 degrees Celsius, offering the potential for more energy-efficient electricity usage and advanced technologies.

  • The superconductor is formed by squeezing together powdered carbon and sulfur at high pressures and exposing them to hydrogen gas, resulting in a transparent crystal substance. However, it only functions under extreme pressures, making it impractical for everyday use currently.

  • Researchers have also developed a new type of paint made of calcium carbonate, which reflects 95.5% of the sun's radiation. This paint stays cooler than its surroundings, potentially reducing the need for air conditioning and conserving energy in buildings, especially those with large roofs.

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