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Water “freezes” at 105 C inside of carbon nanotubes

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posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:05 PM
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While some may find this boring, I’m sure we can all agree that some things that we think we know or have come to expect can often still surprise us when observed in another form or environment. That is basically my reasoning for sharing this.


It's a well-known fact that water, at sea level, starts to boil at a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, or 100 degrees Celsius. And scientists have long observed that when water is confined in very small spaces, its boiling and freezing points can change a bit, usually dropping by around 10 C or so.

But now, a team at MIT has found a completely unexpected set of changes: Inside the tiniest of spaces—in carbon nanotubes whose inner dimensions are not much bigger than a few water molecules—water can freeze solid even at high temperatures that would normally set it boiling.

The discovery illustrates how even very familiar materials can drastically change their behavior when trapped inside structures measured in nanometers, or billionths of a meter. And the finding might lead to new applications—such as, essentially, ice-filled wires—that take advantage of the unique electrical and thermal properties of ice while remaining stable at room temperature.

Source: 1/2

Simply put, a phase is either a gas, liquid or solid. Putting water and possibly other liquids in a nanocavity can distort the phase and associated behavior that is normally exhibited in other scenarios. Scientists are even figuring out how to blend more than one phase by distorting the threshold between phases that transition into one another. Thankfully, nanotechnology has given us the ability to discover new and exciting phenomenon by forcing different phases of matter into it's unique playground.


It turns out that the way water's behavior changes inside the tiny carbon nanotubes—structures the shape of a soda straw, made entirely of carbon atoms but only a few nanometers in diameter—depends crucially on the exact diameter of the tubes. "These are really the smallest pipes you could think of," Strano says. In the experiments, the nanotubes were left open at both ends, with reservoirs of water at each opening.

Even the difference between nanotubes 1.05 nanometers and 1.06 nanometers across made a difference of tens of degrees in the apparent freezing point, the researchers found. Such extreme differences were completely unexpected. "All bets are off when you get really small," Strano says. "It's really an unexplored space."

In earlier efforts to understand how water and other fluids would behave when confined to such small spaces, "there were some simulations that showed really contradictory results," he says. Part of the reason for that is many teams weren't able to measure the exact sizes of their carbon nanotubes so precisely, not realizing that such small differences could produce such different outcomes.

Scientists are surprised that water can even enter such a tiny opening at the end of each tube, especially since carbon nanotubes were thought to be water-repelling. How water even enters the tube in the first place is still a bit of a mystery. Once solved, it can provide us with a greater understanding or perhaps lead us even deeper down the rabbit hole of nanoscience. Here is where it gets technically strange and deviates slightly from the title of this thread, hence the word "freezing" being in quotation marks.


The team can detect not only the presence of water in the tube, but also its phase, he says: "We can tell if it's vapor or liquid, and we can tell if it's in a stiff phase." While the water definitely goes into a solid phase, the team avoids calling it "ice" because that term implies a certain kind of crystalline structure, which they haven't yet been able to show conclusively exists in these confined spaces. "It's not necessarily ice, but it's an ice-like phase," Strano says.

Because this solid water doesn't melt until well above the normal boiling point of water, it should remain perfectly stable indefinitely under room-temperature conditions. That makes it potentially a useful material for a variety of possible applications, he says. For example, it should be possible to make "ice wires" that would be among the best carriers known for protons, because water conducts protons at least 10 times more readily than typical conductive materials. "This gives us very stable water wires, at room temperature," he says.

If you’ve made it this far and your eyes haven’t glazed over, I at least hope that you’ve enjoyed learning something new. Like I said earlier, nanotechnology has and will continue to help us learn more about our environment than we ever thought was possible.

(at least it wasn't another political thread)


edit on 30-11-2016 by eisegesis because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:11 PM
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Now THAT is neat.

I wonder if they're experimenting with what other common gasses/liquids are doing in those spaces? Sounds like a good way to accidentally learn something super useful.



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:12 PM
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a reply to: eisegesis

First thoughts?

Finally something to keep my beer cold on a hot day!



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:14 PM
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a reply to: TerryDon79

Errr, your beer would still be at 105c...
edit on 30-11-2016 by Indigent because: Would not will



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:15 PM
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originally posted by: Indigent
a reply to: TerryDon79

Errr, your beer will still be at 105c...


I didn't think that through, did I?

Ah well. Hot beer it is.



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:18 PM
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a reply to: TerryDon79

At $300 a gram, how much money is required to make a coozy?



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:20 PM
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a reply to: Indigent

That's the highest freezing point



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:21 PM
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originally posted by: ventian
a reply to: TerryDon79

At $300 a gram, how much money is required to make a coozy?


You can't put a price on cold beer.

Unfortunately, I misread the OP. It would still be hot.




posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:21 PM
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Do the nanotubes burst like basement plumbing when the water freezes?



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:24 PM
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a reply to: TerryDon79

You were correct. Why would it melt if at a lower temperature?



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:26 PM
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a reply to: TinfoilTP

Without going into consideration if water expands in this conditions, the tube must be closed at the ends for this to happen, otherwise the water would just expand outside the pipe.



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:27 PM
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originally posted by: ksiezyc
a reply to: TerryDon79

You were correct. Why would it melt if at a lower temperature?


I was wrong.

The temperature stays the same, but the state goes from liquid to solid.

My brain just saw the word "freeze" and assumed temperature changes would happen too, which they don't.

So you'd end up with a hit, frozen beer. Sounds kinda odd lol.



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:29 PM
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a reply to: TerryDon79

It wouldn't freeze instantly though and who drinks so slow as to let it freeze? I'm a little confused. Science is clearly not my areana.



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:29 PM
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DP
edit on 30-11-2016 by ksiezyc because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:41 PM
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If you can limit the vibrational frequency of a particle you can change its operating temperature. It make sense.

The nanotubes restrict motion of the water molecules so even with a surrounding temperature gradient the molecules cannot be excited into a phase change due to physical restriction.

Your laptops heatsink and many HVAC systems work on the same principle.



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:46 PM
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In this universe, there's only one absolute... everything freezes ...
edit on 30-11-2016 by Perjury because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:52 PM
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Posted on the Graphene Mega thread a few days ago but what the hey, that is just me posting updates about the wonder material. Your thread has a more detailed description about the story...

I was thinking it would make a good vest for heat stroke victims. A beer coozie is a great idea as are for use in drinks where you do not want ice to dilute the flavors.

Remember Kurt Vonnegut's Ice 9 from Cat's Cradle? I remember reading a story where somebody told the concept of Ice 9 melting at 115 degrees Fahrenheit from the story to a scientist. The guy froze in his tracks, thought about it for a while, then said, "Nah! It could never happen!" then walked off into the party.

Why do I think of Prong and the song, "Prove You Wrong"?



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 03:56 PM
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originally posted by: lordcomac
Now THAT is neat.

I wonder if they're experimenting with what other common gasses/liquids are doing in those spaces? Sounds like a good way to accidentally learn something super useful.


Or to accidentally get an Earth shattering KABOOOM! Hey we don't know how the Illudium Pew 36 explosive space modulator was made.



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 04:08 PM
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a reply to: TinfoilTP

No, the strength of CNTs (carbon nanotubes) prevents it from breaking like that. That is why people thought it would make good stuff for a space elevator (later it was shown that it would not work). It almost the opposite, the CNTs prevent water from moving which means it goes through the phase transition to ice because it cannot move. Any expansion is contained. They wonder what other fluids can do the same trick.

Graphene, CNTs, and graphene aerogel are very interesting materials. There is work going on with using two sheets of graphene to contain a few particles of metals and what not. They can smash the two sheets together and create crazy pressures without having to melt the materials first which can change the structure into some other form that is not desirable.

From the Graphene Mega thread: check this out Teslaphoresis! That is a bunch of CNTs in water where a slightly modified Tesla coil is applied and they all line up end to end. That is a cool video!

Since they conduct electricity so well there are ideas that long wires would conduct electricity perfectly. Basically, a room temperature superconductor. And it strange that research has gone very quiet...



posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 04:22 PM
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a reply to: TEOTWAWKIAIFF



No, the strength of CNTs (carbon nanotubes) prevents it from breaking like that


I don't want to be an ass but, really??? You pull this from where exactly? How much preassure is generated inside the nanotube?

Water expands when freeze because it goes from a disordered state where it occupy all volume to an exagonal extruture, this extruture has empty espace that cannot be occupied so the same number of molecules require more volume.

I wonder what kind of expansion suffer this water in a space where only 3 molecules can exist, not even an hexagon can be formed, the water just stops moving, there is no crystalline structure., there is no ice.




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