Scientists have accidentally created a very strange type of ice. He's not like everyone else

Using ultra-low temperatures and several steel ball bearings, scientists have created a completely

a new, unusual form of ice. It has the same density as liquid water.

Unlike crystalline ice, whichnaturally formed on Earth, the new does not have an organized molecular structure. Sample molecules are random, as in amorphous substances. Their atomic structure is short-range, but not long-range. This is typical for crystalline structures. Stable amorphous substances include glasses (artificial and volcanic), natural and synthetic resins, adhesives, paraffin and wax.

Scientists have created amorphous ice before, but it waseither less dense or much denser than liquid water. The new version of amorphous is "somewhere in between", almost exactly matching the density of liquid water. “This is something completely new,” the scientists write.

To create a new type of ice, scientists usedball mill. They were just experimenting and wanted to "test what would come of it." The researchers placed the material placed in a chamber with stainless steel balls. There, the hinges shook or turned over the ice until the material was crushed.

Scientists thought the ball mill was justbreaks ice crystals into smaller ones. But that's not what happened. Instead, the hinges cut and compressed the ice crystals until a medium-density amorphous ice was obtained.

Computer simulation showed thatInitially, the ice was in its usual crystalline state, and its hydrogen bonds formed a hexagonal lattice. A random shift under the action of a ball mill pushed them in different directions.

A new form of ice was obtained at a temperature of 77Kelvin, or -196 °C. In addition to the density of 1.06 g/cm³, it has some strange properties. When the researchers compressed the medium-density ice and heated it to minus -120°C, the ice "recrystallized", releasing a large amount of heat.

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On the cover: part of the experimental setup for the production of medium-density amorphous ice.
Image courtesy of Alexander Rose-Finsen, Christoph Salzmann