Water that never freeze

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Can water reach minus 263 degrees Celsius without turning into ice? Yes it can, say researchers, Led by Professors Raffaele Mezzenga and Ehud Landau, a group of physicists and chemists from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich have now identified an unusual way to prevent water from forming ice crystals, so even at extreme sub-zero temperatures it retains the amorphous characteristics of a liquid. In a first step, the researchers designed and synthesised a new class of lipids (fat molecules) to create a new form of “soft” biological matter known as a lipidic mesophase. What’s so special about this structure is that —unlike in an ice-cube tray— there is no room in the narrow channels for water to form ice crystals, so it remains disordered even at extreme sub-zero temperatures. The lipids don’t freeze either.

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The Petri Dish is malaysia’s first dedicated science newspaper. Through The Petri Dish we aim to engage the public on the latest developments on biotechnology.