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Superionic Ice


baseball00

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Water and ice molecules on earth have a distinct molecular structure that gives it the properties that it has; however, under different surrounding pressures, the molecular structure can change, resulting in the formation of superionic water. Superionic water differs from the ice/water you and I know so well. "Regular" ice has molecules that form a V shape with two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. As pressure increases, these atoms get squeezed into different shapes. A property that superionic ice has is that it is a conductor of electricity; however, unlike most conductors, the current is carried by positively charged ions instead of negatively charged electrons.

This substance was just a theoretical idea until recently when the University of Rochester's OMEGA laser tested the theory and was successful in creating superionic ice. They knew this was a success because the molecules were able to conduct electricity. Due to the opaque color of the molecules when electricity was ran through it, it was determined that it was, in fact superionic. If it had a shiny look to it, the researchers would have known that it couldn't of been superinoinc because that would mean that negative electrons were carrying the current.

The pressures that were applied to the ice by the laser were almost 2 million times the atmospheric pressure of earth. This is the amount of pressure that planets Neptune and Uranus have.

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