Scientists Create Coldest Liquid Water Ever

Posted: Jan 14 2018, 9:43am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Scientists Create Coldest Liquid Water Ever
Credit: Nature.com

Liquid water can be chilled to –42.55 degrees Celsius and it is the lowest water temperature achieved to date

We all know that water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. But that’s not always the case. Under certain conditions, water can remain liquid all the way down to -42.55°C degrees Celsius, which is the lowest water temperature measured to date.

For years, researchers wanted to know exactly how cold water can get before it turns into ice. Prior theory has suggested that the limit is likely −40°C. In the latest effort, researchers have found that liquid water can go much colder than that. When very tiny droplets are injected into a vacuum chamber, they become supercooled liquid water. It is a form of water that is well below the freezing point.

As the droplets moved through the chamber, some of the water evaporates and causes the temperature to fall. But accurately measuring the temperature of ‘supercooled’ water was also a big challenge. For this purpose, researchers used lasers and observed the change in diameter of the drops to measure their temperature. They calculated the water’s temperature to be –42.55 degrees Celsius.

It is the lowest temperature at which liquid water can exist and this supercooled water form can offer more insight into the unusual properties of its normal liquid state.

“The fast evaporative cooling of micrometer-sized water droplets in vacuum offers the appealing possibility to investigate supercooled water - below the melting point but still a liquid - at temperatures far beyond the state-of-the-art,” authors wrote in the study.

“Our results question temperature estimates reported recently for larger supercooled water droplets, and provide valuable information on the hydrogen-bond network in liquid water in the hard-to-access deeply supercooled regime.”

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