Second critical point in supercooled water: Fact or fiction?

author: Alan Soper, Science and Technology Facilities Council
published: March 14, 2016,   recorded: March 2016,   views: 4159


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The nature of water substance continues to attract a large amount of debate and controversy. High on the list of controversies is the idea that supercooled water has a second critical point, below which, if it existed, water would phase separate into two distinct liquids, high density liquid and low density liquid. Although no direct observation of this second critical point has been made to date, a paper last year [Wang et al., J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 6, 2009 (2015)] claimed to have observed this transition in water confined in a porous silica matrix, MCM-41. This was despite several theoretical and experimental objections that had been voiced before this work was published. This talk will look at the arguments for and against the second critical point scenario for water, and highlight yet further evidence that this scenario may have serious flaws.

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