Czech scientists turned water into metal – it was considered impossible on Earth

(ORDO NEWS) — A group of scientists led by Pavel Jungvirt from the Czech Academy of Sciences has managed to endow pure water with the property of a metal. From an ideal insulator, it has become a conductor of electric current.

Such results are only possible at an incredibly high pressure of 48 megabars. This is extremely difficult to implement, and therefore it was impossible to study such “metal water”.

Now, thanks to a new study, scientists can observe the phase transition of water into metal under normal conditions.

Experiment details

Ordinary water produces current because it is filled with ions of various substances. There are no free ions in pure water, so it is an insulator.

However, at high pressure, the atoms shrink so much that the orbitals of the electrons overlap and begin to shift.

Such a process in theory can be done with any substance, but in the Universe such conditions exist only inside gas giants like Jupiter.

Therefore, scientists have tested another way to turn pure water into a metal – to saturate it with electrons from another substance. For example, alkali metals, which easily give them away.

The difficulty lies in the fact that the contact of such a metal with water generates an explosive reaction, so the Czech scientists did the opposite.

They extruded a drop of sodium-potassium alloy in a vacuum chamber and deposited a water film on it in bulk using vapor deposition.

The drop turned golden and became a conductor, which was confirmed using two different spectroscopy technologies. The lifetime of such a drop is short, but sufficient for measurements.


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