Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




WATER WORLD
Scientists take first dip into water's mysterious 'no-man's land'
by Staff Writers
Stanford CA (SPX) Jun 20, 2014


An X-ray laser pulse at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source probes a supercooled water droplet (center, left). The speed and brightness of the X-ray pulses allowed researchers to study water molecules in the instant before freezing. Image courtesy Greg Stewart/SLAC.

Scientists at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have made the first structural observations of liquid water at temperatures down to minus 51 degrees Fahrenheit, within an elusive "no-man's land" where water's strange properties are super-amplified.

The research, made possible by SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser and reported June 18 in Nature, opens a new window for exploring liquid water in these exotic conditions, and promises to improve our understanding of its unique properties at the more natural temperatures and states that are relevant to global ocean currents, climate and biology.

Scientists have known for some time that water can remain liquid at extremely cold temperatures, but they've never before been able to examine its molecular structure in this zone.

"Water is not only essential for life as we know it, but it also has very strange properties compared to most other liquids," said Anders Nilsson, deputy director of the SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis, a joint SLAC/Stanford institute, and leader of the research. "Now, thanks to LCLS, we have finally been able to enter this cold zone that should provide new information about the unique nature of water."

Not Your Typical Liquid
Despite its simple molecular structure, water has many weird traits: Its solid form is less dense than its liquid form, which is why ice floats; it can absorb a large amount of heat, which is carried long distances by ocean currents and has a profound impact on climate; and its peculiar density profile prevents oceans and lakes from freezing solid all the way to the bottom, allowing fish to survive the winter.

These traits are amplified when purified water is supercooled. When water is very pure, with nothing to seed the formation of ice crystals, it can remain liquid at much lower temperatures than normal.

The temperature range of water from about minus 42 to minus 172 degrees has been dubbed no-man's land. For decades scientists have sought to better explore what happens to water molecules at temperatures below minus 42 degrees, but they had to rely largely on theory and modeling.

Femtosecond Shutter Speeds
Now the LCLS, with X-ray laser pulses just quadrillionths of a second long, allows researchers to capture rapid-fire snapshots showing the detailed molecular structure of water in this mysterious zone the instant before it freezes.

The research showed that water's molecular structure transforms continuously as it enters this realm, and with further cooling the structural changes accelerate more dramatically than theoretical models had predicted.

For this experiment, researchers produced a steady flow of tiny water droplets in a vacuum chamber. As the drops traveled toward the laser beam, some of their liquid rapidly evaporated, supercooling the remaining liquid. (The same process cools us when we sweat.) By adjusting the distance the droplets traveled, the researchers were able to fine-tune the temperatures they reached on arrival at the X-ray laser beam.

Colder Still
Nilsson's team hopes to dive to even colder temperatures where water morphs into a glassy, non-crystalline solid. They also want to determine whether supercooled water reaches a critical point where its unusual properties peak, and to pinpoint the temperature at which this occurs.

"Our dream is to follow these dynamics as far as we can," Nilsson said. "Eventually our understanding of what's happening here in no-man's land will help us fundamentally understand water in all conditions."

.


Related Links
DOE/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





WATER WORLD
Fighting hits water supply in east Ukraine city
Donetsk, Ukraine (AFP) June 19, 2014
Up to one million people face water shortages in eastern Ukraine as workers battle to repair pipes damaged by fighting in rebel-held Donetsk, a city spokesman said on Thursday. "Today the water supply is limited and a full supply is being provided only at certain times," Maxim Rovinsky, spokesman for Donetsk mayor Oleksandr Lukyanchenko, told AFP. The city is the largest rebel stronghold ... read more


WATER WORLD
NASA LRO's Moon As Art Collection Is Revealed

Solar photons drive water off the moon

55-year old dark side of the moon mystery solved

New evidence supporting moon formation via collision of 2 planets

WATER WORLD
NASA Invites Comment on Mars 2020 Environmental Impact Statement

Opportunity is exploring the west rim of Endeavour Crater

Discovery of Earth's Northernmost Perennial Spring

US Congress and Obama administration face obstacles in Mars 2030 project

WATER WORLD
NASA Turns Down the Volume on Rocket Noise

Duo Tries on Spacesuits While Advanced Microgravity Science Continues

Five Things We'll Learn from Orion's First Flight Test

Coffee for cosmonauts! First 'ISSpresso' machine to arrive in space

WATER WORLD
Chinese lunar rover alive but weak

China's Jade Rabbit moon rover 'alive but struggling'

Chinese space team survives on worm diet for 105 days

Moon rover Yutu comes closer to public

WATER WORLD
D-Day for the International Space Station

US expects to continue partnership with Russia on ISS after 2020

Station Crew Wraps Up Week With Medical Research

Decontamination System to Up Research on Space Station

WATER WORLD
European satellite chief says industry faces challenges

Payload fueling begins for nexy Arianespace Soyuz flight

Arianespace A World Leader In The Satellite Launch Market

Airbus Group and Safran To Join Forces in Launcher Activities

WATER WORLD
Mega-Earth in Draco Smashes Notions of Planetary Formation

Kepler space telescope ready to start new hunt for exoplanets

Astronomers Confounded By Massive Rocky World

Two planets orbit nearby ancient star

WATER WORLD
Scientists see Earth's most abundant mineral for the first time

Researchers develop efficient approach to manufacture 3D metal parts

Selex ES is upgrading RAT 31 DL radar in Turkey

Defense against laser beam flashes at aircraft being tested




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.