Supercritical Fluids

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Supercritical fluids live in the region of a phase diagram beyond the critical point. At these temperatures and pressures, a substance is neither strictly liquid nor a gas but exhibits behaviors from both. A supercritical fluid can effuse through a solid like a gas does but can also dissolve substrates like a liquid. As noted in the video above, supercritical fluids are useful substitutes for organic solvents in many industrial applications. Carbon dioxide, for example, is used as a supercritical fluid in the decaffeination process.

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