New research shows that water has two different liquid forms, and when exposed to cold temperatures, it may be present in the form of both liquids at the same time.
Water is a vital force not only for humanity but for the entire planet. However, despite its almost limitless distribution, we still have a lot to learn about this combination of oxygen and hydrogen atoms, which results in a magical fluid. As mentioned above, water can be found in two different liquid states, which is one of its unusual properties.
The study, conducted by an international team of researchers, involved experiments in which scientists used X-ray lasers and computer simulations. The team, led by Anders Nilsson, a professor of chemical physics at Stockholm University, also included Nicolas Jovambista, a professor at CUNY (New York City University), who said that the idea of two natures of liquid water was still expressed 30 years ago. Due to its complexity, proving this “paradoxical hypothesis” was a rather difficult challenge. It should be noted that ice formation occurs when both types of water are present in the total mass.
The liquid we use every day is a state of liquid water in which liquid water exists under normal conditions – 25oC. A new study shows that at low temperatures, around -630C, water is characterized by two different states – a low-density liquid at a low pressure and a high-density liquid at a high pressure.
“The interesting thing about this experiment was that we were able to expose the water to X-rays in the blink of an eye before it froze. So we observed the process of how one type of water is converted to a second fluid,” says Professor Nilsson.
The researchers found that the difference between the densities of these two different fluids was about 20%. Combining these two fluids is a similar process of mixing oil and water.
Scientists think their discovery may have implications for the diverse use of water for scientific and engineering purposes.
“So far, the question remains unanswered about how the presence of two different liquids in water can affect, namely, how these two fluids affect biomolecules in the aquatic environment,” explains Jovambatista. “These questions give impetus to the following studies to explore the possibilities of using this mixture.”
In addition to CUNY and Stockholm University, the study involved scientists from POSTECH University in Korea, as well as PAL-XFEL University in Korea, the National SLAC Accelerator Laboratory in California, and St. Francis Javier University in Canada.