Water forms superionic ice, a “new” metal-like state with H+ ions as charge carriers
|February 12, 2018||Posted by kairosfocus under Exoplanets, Geology, Logic and First Principles of right reason, UD's Sci-Tech watch|
Water is of central interest to ID and to many other fields of study relevant to the cosmos and in the world of life. Accordingly, the recent experimental discovery of a predicted metal-like state with a grid of O atoms and with H+ ions flowing through, is significant news. As NY Times reports:
>>This new form, called superionic water, consists of a rigid lattice of oxygen atoms through which positively charged hydrogen nuclei move. It is not known to exist naturally anywhere on Earth, but it may be bountiful farther out in the solar system, including in the mantles of Uranus and Neptune . . . . [S]cientists at Lawrence Livermore first squeezed water between two pieces of diamond with a pressure of 360,000 pounds per square inch. That is about 25,000 times greater than the air pressing against you here on the surface of Earth, and the water is squeezed into a type of ice known as ice VII, which is about 60 percent denser than usual water, and solid at room temperature . . . [which] was [then] blasted by a pulse of laser light. That caused shock waves through the ice that lasted 10 to 20 billionths of a second, heating it to thousands of degrees and exerting a pressure more than a million times that of Earth’s atmosphere . . . . If electrons were moving around, it would have been reflective. (That is why metals are shiny.) Instead, the sample was opaque. That pointed to the movement of ions instead, indicating a superionic ice.
The superionic ice melted into a liquid at about 8,500 degrees Fahrenheit.>>
This phenomenon was discussed in the 1980’s as a way to explain the “lopsided” magnetic fields of these distant planets Uranus and Neptune. Such was suggested as originating in superionic ice in the mantle, not the core. Onward, it is suggested that at even higher pressures other forms of this new phase of ice may exist, as O-atoms take up different lattice arrangements under pressure.
Of course, this underscores the importance of not just relying on computer simulations and mathematical exercises, but on empirical tests. END