New Properties of Supercooled Water Discovered

Water that stays liquid far below its normal freezing point
October 1, 2015  |  편집위원

Prof. Chae Un Kim (School of Natural Science), explaining new properties of supercooled water at his office.

Water is an unusual liquid with many odd properties. On the Celsius scale, pure water typically freezes at 0 degrees (32 degrees Fahrenheit) and boils at 100 degrees (212 degrees Fahrenheit). However, liquid water can still remain liquid far below its normal freezing point, a new study shows.

A team of researchers, led by Prof. Chae Un Kim (School of Natural Science) investigated phase behaviors of water at cryogenic temperatures, especially high-density amorphous (HDA) ice and its glass-to-cryogenic liquid transition using a novel high pressure technique, called high pressure cryocooling.

Although theories have been proposed to account for such unusual thermodynamic and kinetic properties of supercooled water, they remain contentious for lack of adequate experimental evidence, according to the research team.

In this study, Prof. Kim and his team discovered liquid water could still remain liquid below -150° C. The team states, “This is a major experimental accomplishment in that the new technique will provide new insight into the physical origin of the anomalous properties of supercooled water.”

Pro. Kim’s work has appeared in the September 8, 2015 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy (PNAS), one of the world’s most-cited and comprehensive multidisciplinary scientific journals.

This work has been also supported by the Basic Science Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

Journal Reference:
Chae Un Kim, Mark W. Tate, and Sol M. Gruner. “Glass-to-cryogenic-liquid transitions in aqueous solutions suggested by crack healing.” PNAS, September 22, 2015, vol. 112, no. 38 (11765-11770).