Creating ice that doesn’t float or sink!
Scientists have created an entirely new type of ice that doesn’t float or sink, and is more like liquid water than any other.
It may even contain evidence of extraterrestrial life, providing information about the processes that form the oceans of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, where some scientists believe aliens may exist. The new form of ice is amorphous, meaning that unlike regular crystalline ice, where the particles are arranged in a regular pattern, it contains particles that are disorganized and fluid-like in shape.
The researchers believe that ordinary ice may be subject to similar shear forces on the icy moons of the outer solar system due to tidal forces generated by gas giants like Jupiter.
These worlds and their cold oceans provide conditions similar to those used by scientists at University College London (UCL) and Cambridge in their new experiment. The theory is that if this ice is present there, perhaps in cracks in the ice sheets, it could have implications for potential alien life.
This is because one of the characteristics of the new type of ice is that it stores a lot of energy when it forms and releases a lot of energy when it breaks.
This burst of energy has an indirect effect on how tectonics can work on these moons, as well as alien organisms (if any) beyond Earth.
Lead researcher Professor Christoph Salzmann of University College London said: “Water is the basis of all life. Our existence depends on it and we launch space missions to look for it, but scientifically it’s not entirely clear. . We know about 20 crystalline forms ice, “But only two main types of amorphous ice have been discovered previously, known as high-density and low-density amorphous ice. There is a large gap in density between them, and it is generally accepted that there is no ice inside this density gap.” that the density of liquid water is in the middle, so scientists believed that the formation of ice was impossible.
But the researchers found that the ice produced in their experiment had a density between two other known forms of amorphous ice, about the same as that of liquid water.
They named this new type of temperate ice castle Amorphous Medium Density (AMD).
In their experiments, researchers at the University of London and Cambridge used a process called ball milling, which involves vigorously shaking ordinary ice with steel balls into a jar cooled to 200°C.
Instead of ending in small chunks of regular ice, the process resulted in a new, amorphous form of ice.
Co-author Professor Andrea Sella of UCLA said: “We have shown that it is possible to create what looks like still water. This is a very unexpected and amazing discovery.”
Professor Salzmann added: “Our study shows that the density of MDA is exactly within this density gap. This discovery could have far-reaching implications for our understanding of liquid water and its many anomalies.”
The study is published in the journal Science.
Source: Daily Mail