Water is something we are so familiar with and we know that it comes in other forms, like steam and ice, but now scientists have found a never before seen form of water.

Scientists Explain The Entirely New Form of Water Never Seen Before

The water molecule that we all know as H2O is commonly found in three forms; vapor form at high temperatures, liquid at our typical comfortable temperature range and, in solid form at cold temperatures.

Now, researchers at Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) have discovered that water molecules can be found in a fourth form. By working with super-cold forms of ice in tiny, confined spaces, researchers learned what ice does to tunnel into minerals.

Ice is one of the strongest untapped energy forces on our planet. Ice is what causes enormous mountains to crumble as the water that seeps within cracks in rocks freezes in winter and expands in size, forcing the crack apart further.

The Oak Ridge National Lab says ‘Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.’

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The size of the tunnel where this form of water is found is only the width of a single water molecule. ‘In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of water molecules confined in hexagonal ultra-small channels ‘ 5 angstrom across ‘ of the mineral beryl. An angstrom is 1/10-billionth of a meter, and individual atoms are typically about 1 angstrom in diameter.’

The new research will help scientists understand how water behaves in small spaces. This will enhance our understanding of biology by discovering how water is transported in the small spaces of the cell walls of the body, for example.

Another likely field that will benefit from this research is that of geology. Water moves within crystal structures of many minerals. This new form of water was discovered in the mineral beryl, which is what the gemstones aquamarine and emerald are made from.

1. Where did scientists find this new form of water?

If you own an emerald or aquamarine stone, which are beautiful gemstone forms of the mineral beryl, then you may have a piece of jewelry containing this new form of water that has never been seen before.

According to minerals.net, pure beryl is colorless, but it can be found in red beryl or bixbite, pink morganite, Yellow heliodor and golden beryl. Certain forms of green beryl can be heated to produce aquamarine.

2. New form of water also bends concepts of physics

When water is super-cooled and contained within the confined, pressurized spaces that are found in mineral rocks, the hydrogen and oxygen atoms that make up the water molecule change positions. The hydrogen and oxygen atoms use the energy found in the positive charge of their protons to get in formation.

This new form of water that was never seen before is perfectly designed to tunnel through the crystalline structure of rocks by pushing against them on a tiny quantum level.

Picture a hydrogen atom up against the crystal wall of the rock it is trying to tunnel through. The hydrogen atoms can be on either side of the crystal, inside the crystal wall or both at the same time. At the quantum level, the hydrogen atoms are bending space by being in multiple places at once.

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Alexander Kolesnikov, the lead author of ORNL’s Chemical and Engineering Materials Division says ‘This means that the oxygen and hydrogen atoms of the water molecule are ‘delocalized’ and therefore simultaneously present in all six symmetrically equivalent positions in the channel at the same time. It’s one of those phenomena that only occur in quantum mechanics and has no parallel in our everyday experience.’

What does this never seen before, new form of water look like?

The new water form is confined within a six-sided hexagonal tube, so we can say that it fits a six-sided form, however, the new form of water has two extra parts on each end that form a stacked, diamond-shape.

The American Physical Society Physics says that the new tunneling water form of each hydrogen atom ‘takes on six different rotational orientations simultaneously. Tunneling among these orientations means the hydrogen atom is not located at one position, but smeared out in a ring shape.’ There are two stacked rings of hydrogen in this new water molecule shape and the tunneling shape allows them to be in six different orientation positions simultaneously.

Oak Ridge National Lab says that their ‘neutron scattering and computational chemistry experiments showed that, in the tunneling state, the water molecules are delocalized around a ring so the water molecule assumes an unusual double top-like shape.