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Scientists Make Weird Type of Ice Halfway Between Solid and Liquid

Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:37 am

The enigmatic outer solar system planets may harbor a strange form of water ice that is simultaneously a liquid and a solid. Now, researchers have created this odd “superionic water” here on Earth.

The experiment adds weight to a theory that superionic ice, which can conduct electricity like metal does, may explain the lopsided magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune. The researchers describe their findings in a study published this week in the journal Nature Physics.

Researchers probing water’s structural properties have found almost 20 different forms of ice crystals, with water molecules arranged in configurations from disordered to hexagonal to cubic.

Superionic ice’s water molecules are packed together so tightly that their oxygen atoms form a rigid lattice, Change writes. The hydrogen atoms, carrying a positive charge, are then free to flow through it. The flowing hydrogen ions can also carry electrical current.

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Post by Dragon Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:39 am

Scientists Make Weird Type of Ice Halfway Between Solid and Liquid Firstexperim
(M. Millot/E. Kowaluk/J.Wickboldt/LLNL/LLE/NIF)

A laser delivers a burst of ultraviolet light to compress water ice and create superionic ice.

Source / Image Courtesy

 
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Post by Dragon Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:41 am



Studying it could lead to the development of new materials in the future with unique and unforeseen properties, as well as furthering our understanding of the cosmos.

Scientists believe superionic ice exists deep under the surface of planets like Uranus and Neptune.

 
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Post by Dragon Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:46 am



The planet Uranus just keeps getting weirder.

The icy gas world that strangely orbits the sun on its side may also have a wonky magnetic field that constantly flickers on and off, new research suggests.

Magnetic fields around planets, or magnetospheres, create shields against the bombardment of radiation from the sun known as solar wind. On Earth, for example, the magnetosphere lines up pretty closely with the planet's axis of rotation, and magnetic field lines emerge from Earth's north and south poles. On Uranus, however, the magnetosphere is a bit more chaotic.

Uranus' spin axis is tilted by a whopping 98 degrees, and the planet's off-center magnetic field is tilted by another 60 degrees. Every time the planet rotates (about every 17.24 hours), this lopsided magnetic field tumbles around, opening and closing periodically as the magnetic field lines disconnect and reconnect, the study found.

 
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Post by Dragon Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:47 am



Neptune's rotational axis (28.3°) is a little more tilted than Earth's (23.5°) and, because it has no solid surface, its equatorial atmosphere spins more slowly (18 hrs.) than its magnetic field (16 hrs.).

Researchers at London's Imperial College have combined Voyager's dataset with plasma and atmosphere observations to accurately model Neptune’s magnetosphere for the first time.

 

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