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Liquefaction is the process of converting a substance from its natural gaseous state to a liquid state, thus producing a liquefied gas. Liquefaction is achieved through a cooling and compression process that forces gas molecules into contact with one another, changing the gas to a liquid.
Liquefaction was first achieved by the French mathematician Gaspard Monge, who produced liquid sulfur dioxide in 1784. Liquefaction of most other gases did not take place until the mid-19th century. More effective cooling agents were developed throughout the 1830s and 1840s, but some gases were deemed "permanent" gases, meaning they could not be liquefied. Thomas Andrews, an Irish chemist, soon suggested the idea of a "critical temperature" of gases, a temperature above which a gas cannot be liquefied. This caused a breakthrough in liquefaction, which eventually led to the liquefaction of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Today, commonly liquefied gases include liquefied petroleum for fuel and cryogenic refrigerants.