View Full Version : Really Heavy Water

2005-Mar-29, 07:36 PM
There is an Emma Marris article in News@Nature.com that is interesting: Giant planets may host superionic water (http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050321/full/050321-4.html).

As described "water in this bizarre state would be as hard as iron and glow yellow." The water in places like Neptune might behave differently because of temperatures and pressures present low in the planet. It was from a study by Laurence Fried at Lawrence Livermore Labs in California.

One interesting thing was that "the researchers monitored the frequency with which the water molecules [squeezed between two diamond anvils and zapped with an infared laser] vibrated, and looked out for an abrupt shifts [sic] in frequency that would signal that the water had altered its state, or 'phase'." This means, in my mind, that remote sensing techniques might be employable to verify this.

John L
2005-Mar-29, 08:10 PM
It actually sounds like a conductive metal where the metal lattice is oxygen and the electrons are hydrogen. It also ties to the idea mentioned at the end of the article that this form of water in the cores of the gas giants could be responsible for their magnetic fields. I hope work continues on this.

Ola D.
2005-Mar-29, 08:29 PM
Originally posted by John L@Mar 29 2005, 08:10 PM
It actually sounds like a conductive metal where the metal lattice is oxygen and the electrons are hydrogen.
I had this analogy too. It would be great if they can test the superionic state of water in labs with all the high pressures and temperatures.

2005-Mar-29, 11:20 PM
How many allotropes of water are we up to now, 12? 15?

What's even funnier is that hydronium (H3O) may be stable at extreme pressures, and its solution with water (hmm... which one is the solvent?) may have even stranger properties-- as JohnL said, the behavior of the wandering hydrogen will be analogous to electrons.

Here in the low-pressure world, we take it for granted that 'chemistry' is the only possible basis for information storage and transmission = genetics. Given the propensity for water to form clathrate structures around more ... complex molecules at high pressure, self-replicating structures could evolve on a non-carbon basis...

Damn! Time for my medication again: 3pp coffee, 2pp Bushmills. :P Steve

2005-Mar-31, 02:58 PM
This is a very exciting article but I cannot access the original source. Is there a free issue? :D If the oxygen forms the lattice, what holds them together? If the hydrogens are free to move, then this is no longer water since the bonds are broken. I imagine a solid plasma. Though there is a solid plasma, im not sure if it's like this.

2005-Mar-31, 03:31 PM
In the solids we are familiar with, the nuclei more-or-less stay put, and the force of lattice vibrations is carried by electrons from nucleus to nucleus. Their trajectories are semi-random-- if they were oriented the same, we would call it an electric current, and we picture the electrons doing the moving-- the jargon term is 'majority carriers' of electric current.

Think of the high-pressure lattice as population-inverted-- the majority carriers are now protons, and the electrons remain with their oxygen atoms. It's counterintuitive, since the protons are so much heavier; but then, a great deal of the Giga-pascal environment is going to be ... unfamiliar. S