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New study provides evidence for decades-old theory to explain the odd behaviors of water

July 16, 2020

by Princeton University

Water, so ordinary and so essential to life, acts in ways that are quite puzzling to scientists. For example, why is ice less dense than water, floating rather than sinking the way other liquids do when they freeze?

Now a new study provides strong evidence for a controversial theory that at very cold temperatures water can exist in two distinct liquid forms, one being less dense and more structured than the other.

Led by Mariano de Souza, a professor in the Physics Department of UNESP’s Institute of Geosciences and Exact Sciences at Rio Claro, the study was supported by FAPESP. An article by Souza and collaborators describing the study has been published in Scientific Reports.

Our study shows that this second critical point is analogous to the liquid-gas transition in water at about 374 degrees Celsius and at a pressure of some 22 megapascals,” Souza told.

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