Watery No-Man's Land

  • Author: David Bradley
  • Published: 21 June 2010
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: J. Chem. Phys./American Institute of Physics
thumbnail image: Watery No-Man's Land

Physical chemists know water to exist in 15 distinct phases, now research by Valeria Molinero and co-workers, University of Utah, USA, shows that at 180 K ice and liquid can coexist after water crystallizes.

Water's physical behavior is rife with anomalies, including the existence of fifteen different solid, liquid, and vapor phases.

Now, low temperature simulation studies reveal yet another anomaly, the co-existence of liquid and ice after crystallization, which may have implications for cloud formation and so climate. The team uses molecular dynamics to investigate the liquid-crystal equilibrium temperature for water confined between parallel water-repellant plates as a function of the distance between the surfaces. The simulations suggest 310 K as an upper limit for the effect.

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