Scientists Just Confirmed The Existence of a New Crystalline Structure of Ice

(Alexander Nikitin/Moment/Getty Images)

Not all water ice is the same. Locked inside, the arrangement of molecules varies significantly, based on the pressure and temperature conditions under which it forms.

We knew of 18 of these distinct phases of ice, some occurring naturally, some only seen in laboratory conditions.

Three years ago, a team of researchers tweaked one of the existing ice structures, transforming it into a form they called ice β-XV. Now members of that team have determined its exact crystal structure, answering questions on how it forms, and giving it the designation ice XIX.

This discovery could help us better understand how ice forms and behaves in alien conditions very different to those found on Earth.

The ice you see in the freezer, or falling from the sky as snowflakes or hailstones, is the most common natural ice on Earth. This is called ice I, and its oxygen atoms are arranged in a hexagonal grid. The structure is, however, geometrically frustrated, with the hydrogen atoms much more disordered… More about this article in link below…

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