Scientists may have potentially discovered how to freeze boiling water as recent carbon nanotube experiments have managed to substantially change its physical properties.
The new study was carried out by a team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT researchers led by Michael Strano.
Study results were published earlier this week in the Nature Nanotechnology journal. The paper was named “Observation of extreme phase transition temperatures of water confined inside isolated carbon nanotubes”.
There are a few water related properties which everyone knows such as the fact that it boils at 212 Fahrenheit degrees and freezes at 32 Fahrenheit degrees.
Previous experiments have shown that these properties can be altered a bit by the environment and state.
As whilst it is true that water needs less energy so as to reach a boiling point when on the top of Mount Everest, no other study has marked such drastic differences.
The team of MIT researchers to have garnered the unexpected results was analyzing the results of the water’s nanotube confinement.
Researchers declared that whilst a number of phase behavior distortions were to be expected, no one could predict such a wide scale effect.
The team was studying the effects of a fluid’s confinement to a nanocavity. Scientists were trying to determine its phase changes with the help of a nanotube test environment.
As they were expecting to see a modification of the water boiling and freezing points, the variation degree was unexpected.
For the experiment, the researchers used carbon nanotubes. The extremely narrow structures, which are usually hydrophobic, were opened ended on both sides.
In order to determine the current state of the fluid inside of the nanotubes, the study used a technique called vibrational spectroscopy.
Vibrational spectroscopy is the branch of molecular spectroscopy which analyzed Raman and infrared spectra. These are concerned with the different molecules spectra whilst in a gas phase.
The scientists are reluctant to state that they have managed to freeze boiling water due to its unusual nature.
However, the Raman spectroscopy confirmed the “stiff phase” of the water. Ensuing tests have shown that the water reached an ice-like state even when it was registering a temperature of up to 222 Fahrenheit degrees.
This was determined to be caused by the very slight variations registered in the nanotubes’ diameter. It was determined that a difference as small as 0.01 nanometers could determine a rise in the melting point.
As the researchers have managed to unexpectedly freeze boiling water, this may nonetheless lead to quite useful if unusual results.
One can include the water’s unusually high protons conductivity as one of its unusual properties. As such, water is about 10 times better at conducting protons than the usual materials.
With the scientists discovering the unexpected nanotube water properties, their study could lead to the appearance of stable “water wires”.
According to the lead author, Strano, the idea and methodology behind the water wires is quite simple. With the nanotube determining freezing up of the boiling water, their ice-like state will also be ensured whilst at room temperature.
As such, the carbon nanotube could help us harness the water’s high conductivity through the help of their ice-like, stiff phase water properties.
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