Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ASU professor helps solve mystery of glassy water

04.02.2008
Water has some amazing properties. It is the only natural substance found in all three states — solid, liquid and gas — within the range of natural Earth temperatures. Its solid form is less dense than its liquid form, which is why ice floats. It can absorb a great deal of heat without getting hot, has very high surface tension (helping it move through roots and capillaries — vital to maintaining life on Earth) and is virtually incompressible.

A less commonly known distinction of water, but one of great interest to physical chemists, is its odd behavior at its transition to the glassy phase. The “glassy state” is a sub-state of matter — glassy water and ice, for example, are chemically identical and have the same state (solid), but have a different structure. Put another way, ice is crystalline, whereas glass is, well, chunky. As water makes the transition to its glassy state, it behaves very oddly, a fact that has baffled scientists.

Arizona State University Regents Professor C. Austen Angell has found a vital clue that helps explain water’s bizarre behavior at the glass transition and, along the way, gained important insights into phases of liquid water as well. His research is published in the Feb. 1, 2008 issue of the journal Science.

“We know a lot about glasses that form from ordinary silicates, sugars and metals,” Angell says. “They’re making golf clubs out of glassy metals these days. But how important is the glassy state of water" And what can it tell us about ordinary water, which is such an anomalous liquid"”

Most glassy forms of matter experience a gradual increase in heat capacity — the amount of energy it takes to heat a sample by one degree Kelvin — until a key transition point is reached. At that point (called the “glass temperature”), these materials suddenly up-jump to a new, 100 percent higher, heat capacity zone and change from a solid to very viscous liquid phase — as if a solid brick of cold honey were heated and suddenly became a sticky liquid again. This occurs even in solutions in which water is the chief component.

In pure water, however, something quite different happens. As cold, glassy water is heated, its heat capacity barely changes until about 136 K (-215 F), where it begins to increase slightly. Then, abruptly at 150 K (-190 F), it crystallizes and stops being glassy. Approached from the other direction, supercooling water produces a similarly odd effect: Heat capacity remains constant as the water cools until around 250 K (-10 F), when it begins to increase very rapidly with decreasing temperature.

Angell wanted to know what was transpiring in the “no man’s land” between 150 and 250 K (-190 and -10 F). Where, he wondered, was the “real” glass transition for glassy water"

He solved the problem by looking at the behavior of both supercooled water and “nanoconfined” glassy ice. Nanoconfined water is water that has been squeezed into pores with a diameter of about 20 angstroms, or 20 hundred-millionths of a meter (roughly five times the scale of atoms and chemical bonds). Using the behavior of water in these states and combining it with a hypothetical behavior of bulk water deduced using the laws of thermodynamics, he was able to bracket the possible heat capacity of water in the “no man’s land” and come up with a novel cooperative transition to explain the substance’s odd behavior.

“Water’s heat capacity suddenly goes crazy near this transition and, before we can see what is happening, it crystallizes,” Angell says. “One trick for finding out what is going on in there is to put the water in a confinement — to make it nanoscopic so that it forgets how to crystallize. We see the same behavior but with no data gap.”

According to Angell, water does not behave like the usual glass formers and therefore lacks the characteristic heat-capacity jump (glass transition) to the glassy phase; instead, because of its unusual hydrogen bond network, it behaves as if it is in a crystalline phase, making what is known as an “order-disorder transition.” This sucks out all of the heat capacity at temperatures around 220 K and explains why the glass transition in water (near 136 K) is so undramatic compared to other substances.

It also gave Angell an idea for a new scenario to explain the odd behavior of supercooled water, one that is compatible with observed behavior but does not require a critical point.

“I wanted to find the answer to the puzzle of what was happening in ‘no man’s land,’” Angell says. “And so I worked up from the glassy state and nanoconfinement.”

“In the end, we say, ‘Well that that’s not what bulk water would do — that’s been thrust upon it by making it so tiny,’” he explains. “But nevertheless it’s an important part of the picture and it supports the conclusion that we’ve got a different sort of thermodynamics in water than we have in any of these other molecular glass-forming liquids.”

Skip Derra | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asu.edu

Further reports about: Angell capacity crystallize glassy temperature transition

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>