Water still has a few secrets to tell

Jan 21, 2010 By Miranda Marquit feature
Water droplet. Image: Wikimedia Commons

(PhysOrg.com) -- We are used to thinking of water as a substance with relatively few secrets left. Its basic structure has been studied by high school students for decades, and water is considered essential to our survival, as it is so abundant. We tend to think that we've got water pretty well figured out, and what we know about it is of vital importance to life on Earth. But, as a team at Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden, recently found, water isn’t as straightforward as we might think.

“Due to long range interactions, you can obtain a ‘solid like’ behavior in certain types of measurements for liquids,” Jan Swenson, one of the scientists on the project, tells PhysOrg.com. “These hidden slow dynamics has been suspected, but because they are impossible to observe straight on in dielectric measurements, they have been difficult to find. We are quite happy that we have come up with a method that can help us probe a little more deeply into the dynamical behavior of water and other liquids.” Swenson, and his colleagues, Helén Jansson and Rikard Bergman, have started to use a method demonstrating for the first time that water can exhibit a very slow relaxation process. Their results can be seen in : "Hidden Slow Dynamics in Water."

“It all started when we were studying protein solutions,” Swenson explains. “We used Teflon films to reduce conductivity and electrode polarization, and then measured the solvents and the proteins. We saw low frequency dynamics in the solvent, and saw that it was not due to the protein.” Swenson and his peers decided to see if it was perhaps due to the Teflon, but then saw it wasn’t, although the Teflon film plays an important role in identifying water’s hidden dynamics, due to its suppression of electrode polarization and conductivity. “Without a different way of analyzing this and using the Teflon film, it was practically impossible to see these dynamics.”

For the most part, though, slow dynamics have a rather small effect. “This is a very weak feature,” Swenson concedes. “It does not dramatically change the behavior of liquids, but it is an interesting feature that could be of importance. Understanding it could be useful, at least in better understanding the structure and behavior of liquids.”

Swenson thinks that these dynamics might apply to all hydrogen bonded liquids. “So far, it appears that this might be universal. We have been looking at different liquids, and have seen something similar. However, we have only tried it with hydrogen bonded liquids.” The next step, then, is to analyze liquids without hydrogen bonds. “We want to see if it has something to do with the hydrogen bonds. Are these dynamics related to the strength of the on the short range scale? We want to test as many liquids as we can to see the results.”

In the end, it appears that there is more that we can learn from studying , and its . “We always have a lot to learn, and it could prove helpful for our understanding,” Swenson says.

Explore further: Study helps uncover mechanism behind solid-solid phase transitions

More information: Helén Jansson, Rikard Bergman, and Jan Swenson, “Hidden Slow Dynamics in Water,” Physical Review Letters (2010). Available online: link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.017802

3.7 /5 (23 votes)

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User comments : 14

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flaredone
not rated yet Jan 21, 2010
This effect was described already as so-called autothixotropy of water

http://arxiv.org/...46v1.pdf

Water still hides many mysteries for physics - here you can find an extensive list of water anomalies

http://www.lsbu.a...ies.html
hylozoic
not rated yet Jan 22, 2010
Thank you for the second link -- already transmitted to 1000+ meme transmitters :)
Ultra basic, wow++.
flaredone
not rated yet Jan 23, 2010
I even believe, water clusters are containing key to cold fusion understanding. They're behaving like pieces of Thinking Putty plasticine. Such plasticine is quite fluous under slow pressure, but it becomes brittle under impact. Water clusters are quite large and heavy, so they've resonance absorption energy at quite low energies. During their collisions they can erode water molecules from their surface, which results into splitting of water into hydrogen and peroxide under action of radio waves.

http://www.autobl...lt-water

From thermodynamic perspective such reaction is virtually unbelievable. The splitting of water molecules, which requires 1,2 eV of activation energy occurs in 13 MHz radiowaves, i.e. under energy density in range of 5.10E-8 eV.

I presume, the same gigantic ratio could explain the possibility of fusion in hydrogen clusters inside of palladium lattice. Anyway, it demonstrates hidden secrets of common life physics.
flaredone
not rated yet Jan 23, 2010
It's not surprising, contemporary physics ignores all these unexpected phenomena in the same way, like many other things, which doesn't fit mainstream theories well. Old scientists must simply die off first, until the new generation of physicists will be able to consider & study these phenomena in unbiased way.
flaredone
Jan 23, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
bhiestand
5 / 5 (1) Jan 24, 2010
It's not surprising, contemporary physics ignores all these unexpected phenomena in the same way, like many other things, which doesn't fit mainstream theories well. Old scientists must simply die off first, until the new generation of physicists will be able to consider & study these phenomena in unbiased way.

Is it that they actively ignore them, or that they simply can't explain them and none of the currently proposed theories that explain them has sufficient supporting evidence?
broglia
not rated yet Jan 25, 2010
You can ignore theories - but no phenomena. The theory can be wrong - but experiment simply works or not. Physicist shouldn't ignore phenomena just because they've no working theory for them. Instead of it, such research should obtain highest priority - or there is something wrong with strategy of scientific investigation.

After all, string theory has no supporting evidence so far for example, while it's developed for forty years already by crowds of theorists without problem. So I don't think, your argument really counts in science - especially when society is willing to pay for it.
antialias
not rated yet Jan 25, 2010
Instead of it, such research should obtain highest priority - or there is something wrong with strategy of scientific investigation.


High pay-off or high-profile research merits funding. Unfortunately that's the way it is.

Research into the properties of water, even though it is assuredly interesting, is neither. So don't expect a lot of scientists to look that way (we have to be payed, too, you know...and administrators breathe down our necks heavily when we squander our time/money on stuff that isn't in the funding specs.)

Go find 'society that is willing to pay for that research' and you will assuredly find scientists willing to take you up on it.
seneca
not rated yet Jan 25, 2010
..research into the properties of water, even though it is assuredly interesting, is neither....
This explanation doesn't work, too. Cold fusion, room superconductivity or antigravity research are highest pay-off research possible and they're basically ignored as well by mainstream science. The whole problem is, water cluster research doesn't play well with mainstream science, because it claimed before years, cluster medicine is BS. It's a negative PR thing.
antialias
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2010
Cold fusion, room superconductivity or antigravity research are highest pay-off research possible and they're basically ignored as well by mainstream science.

Small difference: These aren't science.

Definition: Science is when you do research on phenomena that are _reproducible_ by more than one person. The above don't qualify. 'PR' doesn't come into it.
seneca
1 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2010
Science is when you do research on phenomena that are _reproducible_ by more than one person
Considering you're qualified to define, what the science "is" - do you mean "_could be reproduced_" or "_has been reproduced_"? Opponents of Galileo "refused" to have look at his telescope, thus keeping his ideas nonscientific for long time.

http://bedejourna...eos.html

Cold fusion experiments were replicated many people in peer reviewed journals. In this case, rest of mainstream plays a role of Galileo opponents.

http://www.tgdail...periment
antialias
5 / 5 (1) Jan 27, 2010
If it was reproduced as often as claimed then why doesn't any of these guys have a cold fusion generator in his back yard?

It is surprising that the apparatus (for anti gravity, cold fusion, whatever, ... ) is just 'miraculously' on the fritz when anyone comes to take a look.

There is no antipathy in the scientific community towards such findings _if_ they are well documented and can be reproduced. Peer review is the order of the day. If you go through that process then you will not find a problem with people 'not wanting to look at stuff' (at least I have never heard of any of my coleagues having that problem - and I am a scientist by trade).
seneca
1 / 5 (1) Jan 27, 2010
..If it was reproduced as often as claimed then why doesn't any of these guys have a cold fusion generator in his back yard?...
I can ask, why physicists have no strings or Higgs boson trapped in test tubes already? They're talking about it for forty years already. The application of double standards is one of signs of pseudoskepticism.

http://www.plasma...epticism

Prof. Arata organized public presentation of cold fusion before two years for journalists and his experiments were replicated by at least two laboratories already and published in peer reviewed press - so where is the problem?

Concerning the scientific community, I wouldn't talk about antipathy, but the ignorance and skepticism. Everyone is looking for Higgs boson, as if it could save the world from energy crisis - while apparently significant phenomena are ignored.

Has such approach some logics?
frajo
3 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2010
..If it was reproduced as often as claimed then why doesn't any of these guys have a cold fusion generator in his back yard?...
I can ask, why physicists have no strings or Higgs boson trapped in test tubes already? They're talking about it for forty years already.

You are confusing non-reproducible experimental results without theoretical foundation and well-founded theories without (as yet) testable predictions.
seneca
not rated yet Jan 27, 2010
Cold fusion experiments are way more reproducible, then search of Higgs boson or search of heaviest elements for example. What the poorly reproducible is just your knowledge about it. Well-founded theory without testable predictions is just an oxymoron.