I want to increase a fixed-size object's internal gas pressure by generating hydrogen in it, but I could not find the proper phase diagram for it. So I am wondering how high pressures I can get.

  • $\begingroup$ As far I know, on such extreme pressures, there is no such fixed boiling point any more. But possibly someone knows it better. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Sep 21, 2020 at 13:12
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Here's your phase diagram: engineeringtoolbox.com/hydrogen-d_1419.html $\endgroup$ Sep 21, 2020 at 21:21
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The term "permanent gas" has been invented exactly to describe your situation. $\endgroup$
    – fraxinus
    Sep 22, 2020 at 7:53
  • $\begingroup$ Apparently, the provided answers are enough, yet just wondering, given the danger of hydrogen, why do you want to inject hydrogen? Can you consider an alternative, like nitrogen? $\endgroup$ Sep 24, 2020 at 12:58

4 Answers 4


$\ce{H2}$ cannot be liquified at room temperature, whatever the pressure. Generally speaking, all gases can only be liquified when the temperature is under its critical value.

  • $\begingroup$ The critical temperature of hydrogen is 33.20 K, and so it becomes a supercritical fluid if the pressure is great enough. $\endgroup$
    – KingLogic
    Sep 24, 2020 at 0:38
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    $\begingroup$ Yes. But a supercritical fluid is not a liquid. It has no surface, where a boat can float. $\endgroup$
    – Maurice
    Sep 24, 2020 at 2:34
  • $\begingroup$ Yes you're right $\endgroup$
    – KingLogic
    Sep 24, 2020 at 2:43

The critical temperature of Hydrogen is $\pu{32.938 K, resp. -240.21 ^{\circ}C}$. Above this temperature, it cannot be liquified.

So to answer your question, you can get as high pressure as you can produce and the container can withstand, as there is no condensation reducing the pressure.

WARNING: An accidental explosive container rupture can easily cause severe injuries or even death.

The industrial liquifying process involves:

  • $\begingroup$ Does it turn into a solid eventually? $\endgroup$
    – user253751
    Sep 23, 2020 at 12:46
  • $\begingroup$ Any gas does. Hydrogen would need hundreds of GPa, $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Sep 23, 2020 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ @melanieshebel "It is not common to use the ’s with non-living things." $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Dec 23, 2021 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Poutnik It's fairly common, but the alternative for non-living things would be to use "of" or "of the" to indicate possession, like "...critical temperature of hydrogen..." $\endgroup$ Dec 23, 2021 at 16:57
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    $\begingroup$ @MelanieShebel I was just going to use it. But grammer sites Ihave visited advice not to use the Saxon genitive to things. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Dec 23, 2021 at 16:57

As others have said, hydrogen cannot be liquified above its critical temperature, which my source (Wolfram Alpha chemical database*) says is $\pu{32.97 K} = \pu{-240.18 ^\circ C}$

However, with sufficient pressure, the molecules can be squeezed together until they have a liquid-like density**, and are thus no longer considered a gas, but rather a supercritical fluid. The pressure required to reach this point is called the critical pressure which, for hydrogen, is $\pu{1.239 MPa} = \pu{179.7 psi}$.

Hence, while you can't change hydrogen into a liquid at room temperature, you can change it into a (supercritical) fluid.

Incidentally, there are two established storage technologies for pure hydrogen in vehicles. One involves cooling the hydrogen below its critical temperature and liquifying it. The other stores it at ambient temperature, at pressures of $5\,000$ to $10\,000\ \mathrm{psi}$. In the ambient temperature cases they are not storing compressed hydrogen gas, but rather compressed supercritical hydrogen.

*Their sources are: https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/sources.jsp?sources=ChemicalData&sources=ElementData

**Achieving a liquid-like density is not the formal definition of the transition from gas to supercritical fluid, but it does, I think, paint a helpful physical picture.

  • $\begingroup$ @Baris Note for the OP: liquid like density is still quite low, compared to the liquid at less extreme conditions. E.g. liquid water ( and water vapor as well ) near water critical temperature and pressure have both density about 200 kg/m3. For hydrogen, it would be much lower. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Sep 22, 2020 at 6:15
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, formally, you are probably right, but I have never heard calling hydrogen with p>1.239 MPa as hypercritical fluid (HCF).( for 4He 0.227 MPa ). In my undestanding, speaking about HCF has IMHO sence for temperatures not too far from the critical one. Hydrogen at such a pressure and room temperature is much closer to ideal gas than to hypercritical fluid. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Sep 22, 2020 at 6:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Poutnik Regarding your second comment: I think that's precisely why it's interesting to note this, since no one does typically recognize that these ambient-temperature containers are holding hydrogen in the supercritical fluid state. $\endgroup$
    – theorist
    Sep 22, 2020 at 6:27
  • $\begingroup$ What I had in mind is 1000->200kg/m3 density drop for water, versus analogical density drop for liquid hydrogen. Hydrogen critical density is 30.3 kg/m3 engineeringtoolbox $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Sep 22, 2020 at 6:33
  • $\begingroup$ I still insist if the state is not near enough to the critical point, speaking about supercritical state is very formal, not being related to specific supercritical properties found near the critical point, caused by very significant ideal gas deviation. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Sep 22, 2020 at 6:41

Hydrogen can be stored at relatively high density (in some cases actually higher density than pure liquid hydrogen) at ambient pressure, by reversible formation of electropositive metal hydrides. One of the simplest such proposed storage compounds is [magnesium hydride]. Various Synthesis methods are reported by Wikipedia:

In 1951 preparation from the elements was first reported involving direct hydrogenation of Mg metal at high pressure and temperature (200 atmospheres, 500 °C) with MgI2 catalyst:[1]

$\ce{Mg + H2 -> MgH2}$

Lower temperature production from Mg and H2 using nano crystalline Mg produced in ball mills has been investigated.[2] Other preparations include:

• the hydrogenation of magnesium anthracene under mild conditions:[3]

$\ce{Mg(anthracene) + H2 -> MgH2}$

• the reaction of diethylmagnesium with lithium aluminium hydride[4]

• product of complexed $\ce{MgH2}$ e.g. $\ce{MgH2.THF}$ by the reaction of phenylsilane and dibutyl magnesium in ether or hydrocarbon solvents in the presence of THF or TMEDA as ligand.[5]

The first method with magnesium anthracene offers espcially good reversibility, as the magnesium anthracene can be formed under mild conditions from the metal and the anthracene recovered after reaction with hydrogen to form the hydride.

Cited References

1. Egon Wiberg, Heinz Goeltzer, Richard Bauer (1951). "Synthese von Magnesiumhydrid aus den Elementen (Synthesis of Magnesium Hydride from the Elements)" (PDF). Zeitschrift für Naturforschung B. 6b: 394.

2. Zaluska, A; Zaluski, L; Ström–Olsen, J.O (1999). "Nanocrystalline magnesium for hydrogen storage". Journal of Alloys and Compounds. 288 (1–2): 217–225. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0925-8388(99)00073-0.

3. Bogdanović, Borislav; Liao, Shih-Tsien; Schwickardi, Manfred; Sikorsky, Peter; Spliethoff, Bernd (1980). "Catalytic Synthesis of Magnesium Hydride under Mild Conditions". Angewandte Chemie International Edition in English. 19 (10): 818. https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.198008181.

4. Barbaras, Glenn D; Dillard, Clyde; Finholt, A. E; Wartik, Thomas; Wilzbach, K. E; Schlesinger, H. I (1951). "The Preparation of the Hydrides of Zinc, Cadmium, Beryllium, Magnesium and Lithium by the Use of Lithium Aluminum Hydride1". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 73 (10): 4585. doi:10.1021/ja01154a025.

5. Michalczyk, Michael J (1992). "Synthesis of magnesium hydride by the reaction of phenylsilane and dibutylmagnesium". Organometallics. 11 (6): 2307–2309. https://doi.org/10.1021/om00042a055.


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