By Gabriella Munoz
Getting water to its supercooled state at between -43 to -48 degrees Celsius is no easy task, and scientists have dubbed this state ‘no-man’s land’. A new study, published in the journal Nature, however, explains how scientists managed to get to water’s no-man’s land by cooling water to -46 degrees Celsius. The results of the study will help further understand our knowledge of water in all conditions.
Physicist Anders Nilsson and his team from the Standford University National Accelerator Laboratory in the US managed to make 10-micron-sized water droplets in a vacuum. The droplets evaporated really fast, but they were able to keep them at -46 degrees Celsius for enough milliseconds to take x-rays to study the structural makeup of the droplets.
The images revealed that water’s molecular structure transforms continuously as it enters this mysterious zone, and with further cooling the changes accelerate even more than previously thought.
The study has provided the first structural measurements of liquid water in no-man’s land, but we’ll have to wait a bit more to get a full picture of the amazing properties of water at even lower temperatures. “Our dream is to follow these dynamics as far as we can,” said Nilsson in a release. “Eventually our understanding of what’s happening here in no-man’s land will help us fundamentally understand water in all conditions.”