As the saying goes, “Frozen three feet, not a day cold”, then how on earth did the water become ice? The question seems simple, and no one has been able to speak it clearly for hundreds of years. Now, Chinese scientists have “recreated” the process of freezing water in experiments, revealing the existence of “critical ice cores” in this process, confirming the century-old prediction of the classical critical ice core theory.
On December 19th, The internationally renowned academic journal Nature published the scientific research results, led by Wang Jianjun of the Institute of Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Zhou Wei of the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It is also the first time that the scientific community has confirmed the existence of critical ice cores in experiments.
Wang Jianjun, author of the paper and a researcher at the Institute of Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told China Youth Daily China Youth Network that understanding the process of water icing not only satisfies people’s curiosity, but also useful knowledge – as a common phenomenon in nature, it not only affects the climate, geology and life on Earth, but also in the chemical industry, Cryogenic biology, materials science and other fields play a vital role, such as low-temperature freezing of cells and tissues, maintaining the high activity of vaccines in the production and transportprocess, aircraft and other means of transport anti-ice coating.
According to the thermodynamic principle, water molecules in the solution will continue to heat motion, when the temperature is below freezing point, water molecules tend to be arranged in an orderly manner.
The formation of ice core is the result of the disordered thermal motion of water molecules and the orderly arrangement of water molecules. When the ice core size is greater than the critical size, that is, a critical ice core is formed, the water begins to freeze.
Nearly a hundred years ago, The scientist Gibbs came up with the theory of critical ice cores and was written into textbooks. However, the true face of the critical ice core has never been seen.
Wang Jianjun said that the critical ice core is the transition state that exists instantaneously during water and ice phase change – nano-level, very small size.
Today, Wang Jianjun’s team, together with Professor Zhou Wei of the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has successfully detected the critical ice core. The experimental combination of theoretical calculations, concise and clear lying obtained the size of the critical ice core.
Dong June AHN, a member of the Korean Academy of Engineering, commented that the study was one of the landmark stake in the field of ice-forming nuclear.