Water is life, but water is funkier than we thought because it has multiple forms just like those double-faced people you know. Well, not exactly like that but it surely is more complicated than we had imagined as a bizarre new form of water is just discovered.
Water is already one strange component because it naturally exists in all three phases – solid, liquid and gas. But that is certainly not enough for the multi-personality molecule so it is now discovered to be found in in another liquid form of water. Yes, that. With our knowledge of water’s oddities getting deeper, there are two types of liquid waters (no it’s not a joke and I won’t say still and sparkling water)– high density and low density. Scientists at Stockholm University and collaborators around the world show evidence for these novel forms of water.
Time to get into the nerdy talk. Most of us MUST know that the molecule of water is made of two hydrogens and an oxygen arranged in a boomerang shape. The unique shape, electric charge and the attraction between hydrogen atoms and oxygen atoms is what makes this substance stand out among others being so unique. And that is the secret of being the only chemical on Earth which exists in all three phases – solid, liquid and gas. So the new-just-found form of water exists at low temperature when ice crystallisation is too slow.
The scientists used X-rays to track the distance between individual molecules of H20 at low temperatures. Using this technique, they watched as the water transitioned from an amorphous, glassy, frozen liquid state (essentially, un-crystallized ice), to a viscous liquid, and then almost immediately to another, more viscous liquid with a lower density. Voila! The second bizarre form revealed. Although we cannot decide which form of liquid is the water at room temperature, in fact scientists say that it locally fluctuates between the two.
That’s that about water, but don’t you dare to judge the life-essential component by tagging it as ‘weird’. It is not a complicated liquid, but two simple liquids with a complicated relationship.