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Physicists Discover Second State of Liquid Water

Nov 18, 2016 10:50 AM EST
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Physicists Discover a Second State of Liquid Water

(Photo : Hagen Hopkins)

Researchers have been studying the physical properties of water, and it seems that the findings are somewhat unfamiliar than we have ever imagined. No one has understood water completely, and the stuff that makes two-thirds of our planet is still a mystery.

When water is heated and the temperature ranges between 40 and 60 degrees Celsius, it touches a "crossover temperature" and starts switching between two unique states of liquid. We've gotten so acquainted with water that it's hard to believe that a plasma-like state also exists.

An international team headed by Laura Maestro, a physicist at the University of Oxford, studied many unique properties of water. They analyzed things like refractive index, thermal conductivity, dielectric constant, surface tension, and conductivity. They also studied how the compound responds to changes in temperature between 0 and 100 degrees Celsius and the spreading of an electric field through water. On reaching 40 degrees Celsius, things began changing, all the way up to 60 degrees. The team has listed some of the crossover temperatures: 50 degrees for refractive index, 53 degrees for conductivity, 57 degrees for surface tension. and 64 degrees for thermal conductivity.

It's not apparent yet, but the fact that water switches between two completely stages of the liquid at given temperatures can be associated with why the compound has many unusual properties. For instance, the connections between water molecules are short-lived. Also, the hydrogen bonds are relatively weaker compared with the bonds that connect each oxygen and hydrogen atom within the molecules.

Experts believe that these are some reasons behind the unusual properties of water; however, they aren't sure how it actually functions. One important aspect of the molecular structure of water that makes it unique from many other liquids is the presence of fleeting hydrogen bonds. The study was published in the International Journal of Nanotechnology.

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