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Name: Shaly J.
Status: Student
Age: 15
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: May 2004


Question:
What is a pseudo solid?



Replies:
As far as I can determine, "pseudo solid" has no specific meaning. It is not a real "thing." It is a word that is used by scientists or engineers when they talk to each other and try to understand the way materials really behave.

In science and engineering, especially engineering, it is not possible to know things exactly. Instead, engineers "approximate" what they are studying using a simpler picture. For example, the way fuel burns inside a jet engine, or the way plastic flows when it is melted. These events are difficult to understand because they are really very complicated when you try to measure them very accurately. So engineers try to understand these examples in a simpler manner. If your field of research is about something nearly solid, then you might call it a pseudo solid. For example, some colloid materials (mixtures of solid and liquid, like thick paint) are solid. These mixtures do not flow. Blobs of this material aren't very strong and if you push the blob it will start to flow. Some people call this a pseudo solid because the a solid turns into a liquid.

A paste mixture of starch and water will flow, but if you hit it fast it becomes hard. This is not a pseudo solid. Engineers simply call it a non-Newtonian fluid.

Some people refer to glass or plastic as a "pseudo solid" when they want to say that these materials sometimes have properties that are not perfectly solid.

Bob Erck



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