A long time ago I read that neutron stars have a solid crusts that are several orders of magnitude harder/stronger than alloys here on the Earth. So how is this possible ?
A neutron star has a surface temperature of some 50,000 °K, so how can anything "solidify" at these temperatures ?
I understand that a solid is hard because of the chemical bonds and sometimes the crystals that form in the solid, so the only way that a star with a 50,000 °K can have a solid crust is if the matter there is solid because of other means, and that's because neither chemical bonds nor molecules can exist at these temperatures.
So how can a neutron star crust (and matter in general) become solid at these high temperatures where molecules and neutral atoms don't even exist ? And can this solid matter really reach strengths several order of magnitudes the strength of our alloys ?