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New ‘Tunneling’ State of Water Molecules Discovered by Scientists

MikeChino quotes a report from Inhabitat: Scientists just discovered a new state of water molecules that displays some pretty unexpected characteristics. This discovery, made by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), reveals that water molecules “tunnel” in ultra-small hexagonal channels (measuring only 5 angstrom across) of the mineral beryl. Basically, this means the molecules spread out when they are trapped in confined spaces, taking a new shape entirely. The ORNL used neutron scattering and computational modeling to reveal the “tunneling” state of water that breaks the rules of known fundamentals seen in gas, liquid, or solid state. The researchers said the discovery describes the behavior of water molecules present in tightly confined areas such as cell walls, soils, and rocks. The study was published in Physical Review Letters on April 22.


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