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Could Water Have a Fourth Phase?


We're all taught that there are three phases to water: solid, liquid and gas. But scientists are saying there may be a fourth.

According to Discovery News, water's fourth phase is a state with both the properties of liquid water and ice. What? Here's more:

Researchers Pradeep Kumar and H. Eugene Stanley used a computer simulation to model the elusive liquid. They found that at about 54 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, the local structure of water seems to become extremely ordered, like ice, while undergoing sharp but continuous structural changes and remaining liquid.

Oddly, at this temperature the water also became more conductive of heat, the opposite of what happens with regular liquid water and ice, as anyone living in an igloo will tell you.

The strange behavior of water at low temperatures is what led Stanley and Kumar to believe that their results support the idea that water has a fourth phase.

PhysOrg reports the researchers as believing these surprising results support the idea of a "liquid-liquid phase transition".

Still, third graders will probably not be learning about this fourth, more complex state of water, because lab equipment is not sensitive enough to observe the transition from liquid to solid ice, according to Discovery News.

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