Scientists just discovered a new state of water! – Part B

 Continuation from part A.

In this study, researchers found that liquid water actually undergoes a change in its properties — how it behaves — when it is cooled from 60 degrees to 40degrees Celsius. They’re calling this the “crossover temperature”. In other words, even though water “looks” identical just above and below this temperature range, it has different properties, and thus, is potentially two distinct types of liquid water. When water is cooled, it loses its ability to store electrical energy — also called its dielectric constant. Researchers thought that this happened in a linear fashion, but at the crossover temperature, it gets a kink in this linear line. This small change impacts other physical properties of the liquid, like the speed of sound in water and how it conducts heat. Above 60c, liquid water’s chemical properties look more like what we’d associate with water vapor or steam. Below that, the properties appear more ice-like. And although the change is small, it may have a dramatic effect on molecular systems. The researchers looked at how proteins behave in water at the crossover temperature, and around the 60-degree mark, certain systems of proteins go from being stable to unstable. The researchers think that the physical changes in water at this temperature may be impacting the proteins directly. With further research, this could help us learn how certain diseases infect us. The two states of liquid water could also change how we work with microscopic systems, like nanoparticles, which are sensitive to this crossover temperature. So, water is still kind of mysterious, and there’s probably a lot more to learn about it. I mean, only recently have scientists learned how it is even able to conduct electricity, or the fact that forcing it through tiny tubes changes it’s boiling and freezing points. Even though it’s all around us and inside of us, that’s no reason to take water for granted.

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