Sneaking up on the glassy transition of water

Sep 26, 2011

Rapid cooling of ordinary water or compression of ordinary ice: either of these can transform normal H2O into an exotic substance that resembles glass in its transparency, brittleness, hardness, and luster. Unlike everyday ice, which has a highly organized crystalline structure, this glass-like material's molecules are arranged in a random, disorganized way. Scientists have studied glassy water for decades, but the exact temperature at which water acquires glass-like properties has been the subject of heated debate for years, due to the difficulty of manipulating pure glassy water in laboratories.

Now, in a paper published in the AIP's , physicists from the University of Pisa and the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche at the Institute for Chemical-Physical Processes (CNR-IPCF) in Pisa, Italy, claim to have put an end to the controversy. Unlike previous attempts in which scientists tried to measure the transition temperature directly, the CNR team "snuck up" on the answer by inferring the temperature from a thorough study of the dynamics of water. They examined water's behavior in bulk and at the nano-scale, at and low, combining their own experimental results with 15 decades' worth of research by colleagues.

They also measured the glass transition temperature and the of water that had been doped with other materials, and used this information to set lower and upper boundaries on the transition temperature for pure water. Taken together, their evidence points to a magic number of approximately 136 Kelvin (-137 Celsius). The authors say their work supports traditional views of this phenomenon and refutes recent claims that the transition is above 160 Kelvin (-113 Celsius). The research could find uses in technology associated with food science and the of biological materials, as well as in the study of water in comets and on the surface of planets.

Explore further: Pseudoparticles travel through photoactive material

More information: "Resolving the controversy on the glass transition temperature of water?" is published in the Journal of Chemical Physics.

Related Stories

Cracking a controversial solid state mystery

Feb 06, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists can easily explain the structural order that makes steel and aluminium out of molten metal. And they have discovered the molecular changes that take place as water turns to ice. But, despite the ...

Researchers demystify glasses by studying crystals

Nov 30, 2010

Glass is something we all know about. It's what we sip our drinks from, what we look out of to see what the weather is like before going outside and it is the backbone to our high speed communications infrastructure (optical ...

New observations on properties of water

Dec 13, 2006

Experimental studies conducted by Ph.D. Anatoli Bogdan at the University of Helsinki, Finland, have received broad interest in the scientific world, as the results might have applications even in the cryopreservation of cells ...

Water can flow below -130 C

Jun 28, 2011

When water is cooled below zero degrees, it usually crystallizes directly into ice. Ove Andersson, a physicist at Umea University, has now managed to produce sluggishly flowing water at 130 degree below zero ...

Revealing water's secrets

Aug 01, 2011

We drink it, swim in it, and our bodies are largely made of it. But as ubiquitous as water is, there is much that science still doesn't understand about this life-sustaining substance.

Physicist opens new window on glass puzzle

Aug 09, 2007

When most people look at a window, they see solid panes of glass, but for decades, physicists have pondered the mysteries of window glass: Is glass a solid, or merely an extremely slow moving liquid" An Emory University research ...

Recommended for you

Pseudoparticles travel through photoactive material

Apr 23, 2015

Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have unveiled an important step in the conversion of light into storable energy: Together with scientists of the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin and ...

From metal to insulator and back again

Apr 22, 2015

New work from Carnegie's Russell Hemley and Ivan Naumov hones in on the physics underlying the recently discovered fact that some metals stop being metallic under pressure. Their work is published in Physical Re ...

Electron spin brings order to high entropy alloys

Apr 22, 2015

Researchers from North Carolina State University have discovered that electron spin brings a previously unknown degree of order to the high entropy alloy nickel iron chromium cobalt (NiFeCrCo) - and may play ...

Expanding the reach of metallic glass

Apr 22, 2015

Metallic glass, a class of materials that offers both pliability and strength, is poised for a friendly takeover of the chemical landscape.

Electrons move like light in three-dimensional solid

Apr 22, 2015

Electrons were observed to travel in a solid at an unusually high velocity, which remained the same independent of the electron energy. This anomalous light-like behavior is found in special two-dimensional ...

Quantum model helps solve mysteries of water

Apr 20, 2015

Water is one of the most common and extensively studied substances on earth. It is vital for all known forms of life but its unique behaviour has yet to be explained in terms of the properties of individual ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rsklyar
1 / 5 (2) Oct 02, 2011
Plagiarism in a "family" style
How young ambitious capos and soldiers from Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) under supervision of a decrepit american don-godfather from Northwestern University are successfully completed their sequential plagiaristic enterprise: http://issuu.com/...saivaldi

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.