Latest in Science

Image credit:

Nanotubes can turn water solid when it should be boiling

Forget everything you thought you knew about hot water.
1457 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Scientists have long known that under the right conditions, small amounts of water can be coaxed into changing its boiling or freezing point. A pot of water takes less energy to boil on the top of Mount Everest, for instance, and liquid under pressure takes a little more heat to convert into steam. A group of researchers at MIT has recently taken this effect a step further -- observing that water in nanotubes can actually freeze into a solid at temperatures well beyond its natural boiling point.

"If you confine a fluid to a nanocavity, you can actually distort its phase behavior," explains MIT's Michael Strano. In the research group's naontube test environment, water solidified at temperatures north of 222 °F (105 °C). Researchers expected the liquid's freezing and boiling tempratures to shift, but not by such a wide degree. "The effect is much greater than anyone had anticipated." Stano said "All bets are off when you get really small."

The group was used a technique called vibrational spectroscopy to confirm that the nanotube confined water shifted to a "stiff phase," but researchers are hesitant to say the solid water is frozen. "It's not necessarily ice," Strano says, "but it's an ice-like phase." Terminology aside, the phenomenon could be used to create highly conductive "stable water wires." Sounds futuristic. Ready to hear more? You can find the research group's findings at the source link below.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
1457 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

The $35 Raspberry Pi 4 now comes with double the RAM

The $35 Raspberry Pi 4 now comes with double the RAM

View
Daisy is a tiny $29 computer for building custom musical instruments

Daisy is a tiny $29 computer for building custom musical instruments

View
FCC begins collecting data to help carriers replace Huawei and ZTE hardware

FCC begins collecting data to help carriers replace Huawei and ZTE hardware

View
Volkswagen's 2021 GTI adds a hybrid powertrain and tech-filled interior

Volkswagen's 2021 GTI adds a hybrid powertrain and tech-filled interior

View
Google Earth finally works on Firefox, Edge and Opera browsers

Google Earth finally works on Firefox, Edge and Opera browsers

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr