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Supercritical fluids are neither a gas nor a liquid. The video above shows a tube of pressurized xenon, initially below its boiling point of approximately ~16 deg C. As the temperature is raised, you see the meniscus that marks the liquid xenon disappear. At this point, the xenon has transitioned into the supercritical state. It takes up the entire tube – like a gas – but it is still capable of dissolving materials – like a liquid. At the same time, though, the xenon has no surface tension because there’s no liquid/vapor interface. Toward the end of the video, the temperature gets reduced and the xenon condenses back into a liquid state. Supercritical fluids can be used in a wide variety of industrial applications, including in decaffeination, dry cleaning, and refrigeration. (Video credit: wwwperiodictableru)

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