Researchers develop new type of ice in the laboratory

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Researchers have discovered a new form of ice, more similar to liquid water than any other known ice. The finding was named MDA, “medium density amorphous ice”.

The research was conducted by experts from University College London and the University of Cambridge, both in the United Kingdom, and the results were published in the journal Science.

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“In this case, the hydrogen and oxygen atoms that you would expect are arranged in a disorderly way. Therefore, this name of amorphous is possible. But there are other forms of ice so far, such as 20 types of crystalline ice, in which the atoms are arranged in an orderly way”, explains specialist in the field Julio Larrea Jimenez, professor at the Department of Experimental Physics at the Institute of Physics at the University of São Paulo. Paulo (USP), who was not involved in the study.

For the expert, the most surprising thing about the international work is the density of the discovered ice. “It is at an intermediate value between the amorphous ones already reported and, in particular, this value is very close to the density of liquid water”, says Jimenez in a statement.

extreme conditions

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In the article, the researchers detail that MDA does not exist naturally on planet Earth. To produce it, it was necessary to put water in extreme conditions. U

Using liquid nitrogen, they were able to produce a system with a temperature of -196 degrees Celsius. In this system, there were crystalline ice and metal balls that were placed in an electronic mill, capable of applying a large amount of energy to the ice.

Research suggests that MDA may be natural on some moons in the solar system. “In analogy, you can have mechanical energy coming from gravitational forces. So, on Jupiter’s moons, for example, you have ties of gravitational forces that are acting just like this form of ice and, in addition, you have very cold temperatures”, says the professor.

Although knowledge about water is extensive, the scientific community is still intrigued by mysteries such as the new form of ice discovered. According to the USP professor, knowledge about the element is recent from a historical perspective.

“From the beginning of the 19th century, that is, almost 200 years ago, physicists began to better describe water through phases. The discovery of the critical point of water, for example, happened almost 200 years ago and opened the origin of a new area in physics, thermodynamics”.

One of the biggest obstacles to a full understanding of water is the immense number of particles that can be found in a small amount of matter. For experts, different techniques should be applied in this experimentation process.

“To describe all these particles requires a kind of training algorithm. They call it machine learning, to be able to more accurately describe this system”, he points out.

(With information from Guilherme Castro Sousa, from Jornal da USP)

Source: CNN Brasil

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