They discover a new ice that could change the way water is understood.

In normal crystalline ice, the molecules are arranged in a regular pattern, but the new ice is amorphous with the molecules arranged in a disorderly fashion, resembling a liquid.

According to Science, a team from University College London (UCL) and the University of Cambridge created this new type of amorphous ice, which they call Medium Density (MDA), and using a computer simulation, they built an atomic-scale model.

Amorphous ice, although rare on Earth, is the main type in space because it doesn’t have enough thermal energy to form crystals in this colder environment.

The team used a process of crushing ice using steel balls in a container cooled to -200 degrees Fahrenheit to obtain the MDA.

Instead of getting small pieces of regular ice, the process resulted in MDA, a new amorphous form that looks like a fine white powder and, unlike all other known ice, has the same density as liquid water and thus resembles that of water. solid state.

As MDA warms and recrystallizes, it releases an excessive amount of heat, meaning it can cause tectonic movements and “ice earthquakes” in the miles-thick icy crust of moons like Ganymede.

The researchers hypothesized that MDA could be an exact replica of the real glassy state of liquid water, just as window glass is the solid form of liquid silicon.

According to Christoph Salzmann, study coordinator at UCL, the presence of MDA “could have far-reaching implications for our understanding of liquid water and its many anomalies.”

It has anomalies that have long puzzled scientists, such as water being closest to four degrees and decreasing as it freezes.

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The more liquid the water is squeezed out, the easier it is to compress, which is a departure from the principles that apply to many other substances.

Two main types of high- and low-density amorphous ice were previously known, and it was generally accepted that there was no other type between them.

The difference in density between the known amorphous irons has led to the idea that water exists in two liquids at very cold temperatures, and that both could coexist, in theory, by one type floating on top of the other at a certain temperature.

However, the team said the MDA discovery could raise questions about the validity of this theory about water.

According to Salzmann, existing water patterns must be “tested” before they can explain the presence of medium-density amorphous ice. “This could be the starting point to finally explain liquid water.”

The team suggests that MDA may exist in the icy months of the outer solar system, because tidal forces from gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn can exert forces similar to those exerted by spheres on ordinary ice.

Source: EFE.

Source: Ultimahora

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