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Room temperature ice – deja vu?

By Hamish Johnston

In May, 2006 we ran the news story Ice freezes at room temperature, which explains how K B Jinesh and Joost Frenken came to the startling conclusion that water will form ice at room temperature if it is placed between a tiny tungsten tip and a graphite surface.

So it was a with a great sense of deja vu that I read a new paper in Physical Review Letters by Jinesh and Frenken called Experimental Evidence for Ice Formation at Room Temperature.

I emailed Frenken (who is at Leiden University in the Netherlands) to ask him what was new about the PRL work?

He told me that the original work (also published in PRL) was concerned with the forces between the tip and the ice on the surface. Essentially, the water under the tip had the same elastic constant as ice, and the same maximum shear stress as ice — allowing the physicists to conclude it was ice.

In their latest work, they concentrate on the stucture of the water itself — which (you guessed it) is very similar to ice.

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One comment to Room temperature ice – deja vu?

  1. Hmmm.. I think you were beaten to it by Kurt Vonnegut Jnr in the 60’s and his description of all earth’s water frozen at room temperature in the form of ‘Ice 9’ after being contiminated by a single human made sample. Just don’t hold that tungsten tip near to the graphite for too long now…


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