Nanotechnology Now





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Study Led by George Washington University Professor Provides Better Understanding of Water’s Freezing Behavior at Nanoscale

Abstract:
The results of a new study led by George Washington University Professor Tianshu Li provide direct computational evidence that nucleation of ice in small droplets is strongly size-dependent, an important conclusion in understanding water's behavior at the nanoscale. The formation of ice at the nanoscale is a challenging, basic scientific research question whose answer also has important implications for climate research and other fields.

Study Led by George Washington University Professor Provides Better Understanding of Water’s Freezing Behavior at Nanoscale

Washington, DC | Posted on May 21st, 2013

The crystallization of ice from supercooled water is generally initiated by a process called nucleation. Because of the speed and size of nucleation—it occurs within nanoseconds and nanometers—probing it by experiment or simulation is a major challenge.

By using an advanced simulation method, Dr. Li and his collaborators, Davide Donadio of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, and Giulia Galli, a professor of chemistry and physics at the University of California, Davis, were able to demonstrate that nucleation of ice is substantially suppressed in nano-sized water droplets. Their paper, "Ice nucleation at the nanoscale probes no man's land of water," was published today in the journal Nature Communications.

"A current challenge for scientists is to unveil water's behaviors below -35 degrees Celsius and above -123 degrees Celsius, a temperature range that chemists call ‘no man's land,' " said Dr. Li, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science. "Fast ice crystallization can hardly be avoided at such low temperatures, so maintaining water in a liquid state is a major experimental challenge."

Since the frequency of ice nucleation scales with the volume of water, one of the strategies for overcoming this kinetic barrier is to reduce the volume of water. However, this raises the question of whether water at the nanoscale can still be regarded as equivalent to bulk water, and if not, where that boundary would be.

The team's results answer this question. By showing that the ice nucleation rate at the nanoscale can be several orders of magnitude smaller than that of bulk water, they demonstrate that water at such a small scale can no longer be considered bulk water.

"We also predict where this boundary would reside at various temperatures," Dr. Li said. The boundary refers to the size of the droplet where the difference vanishes. The team's findings will help with the interpretation of molecular beam experiments and set the guidelines for experiments that probe the ‘no man's land' of water.

The results are also of importance in atmospheric science, as they may improve the climate model of the formation of ice clouds in upper troposphere, which effectively scatter incoming solar radiation and prevent earth from becoming overheated by the sun. The results have important implications in climate control research, too. One of the current debates is whether the formation of ice occurs near the surface or within the micrometer-sized droplets suspended in clouds. If it is the former, effective engineering approaches may be able to be taken to tune the surface tension of water so that the ice crystallization rate can be controlled.

"Our results, indeed, support the hypothesis of surface crystallization of ice in microscopic water droplets," Dr. Li said. "Obtaining the direct evidence is our next step."

####

About George Washington University
GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Science prepares engineers and applied scientists to address society’s technological challenges by offering outstanding undergraduate, graduate and professional educational programs, and by providing innovative, fundamental and applied research activities. The school has five academic departments, 11 research centers, 90 faculty and more than 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students. Core areas of academic excellence include biomedical engineering, cybersecurity, high performance computing, nanotechnologies, robotics and transportation safety engineering.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Joanne Welsh

202-994-2050

Kurtis Hiatt
202-994-1849

Copyright © George Washington University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Physics

Freezing single atoms to absolute zero with microwaves brings quantum technology closer: Atoms frozen to absolute zero using microwaves July 2nd, 2015

Nanospiked bacteria are the brightest hard X-ray emitters July 2nd, 2015

News and information

Discovery of nanotubes offers new clues about cell-to-cell communication July 2nd, 2015

Nanospiked bacteria are the brightest hard X-ray emitters July 2nd, 2015

Engineering the world’s smallest nanocrystal July 2nd, 2015

Chemistry

Carnegie Mellon chemists characterize 3-D macroporous hydrogels: Methods will allow researchers to develop new 'smart' materials June 30th, 2015

Visible Light-Sensitive Photocatalysts Used for Purification of Contaminated Water in Iran June 30th, 2015

The Hydrogen-Fuel cell will revolutionize the economy of the world: New non-platinum and nanosized catalyst for polymer electrolyte fuel cell June 29th, 2015

X-rays and electrons join forces to map catalytic reactions in real-time: New technique combines electron microscopy and synchrotron X-rays to track chemical reactions under real operating conditions June 29th, 2015

Discoveries

The quantum middle man July 2nd, 2015

Freezing single atoms to absolute zero with microwaves brings quantum technology closer: Atoms frozen to absolute zero using microwaves July 2nd, 2015

Producing spin-entangled electrons July 2nd, 2015

NIST Group Maps Distribution of Carbon Nanotubes in Composite Materials July 2nd, 2015

Announcements

Nanospiked bacteria are the brightest hard X-ray emitters July 2nd, 2015

Engineering the world’s smallest nanocrystal July 2nd, 2015

Producing spin-entangled electrons July 2nd, 2015

NIST Group Maps Distribution of Carbon Nanotubes in Composite Materials July 2nd, 2015

Water

Visible Light-Sensitive Photocatalysts Used for Purification of Contaminated Water in Iran June 30th, 2015

Dais Analytic Unveils New Version of Aqualyte Membrane Technology: Updates to the Basis of the Company's Industry-Changing Nanotechnology Designed to Strengthen Position in Global Air, Energy, and Water Markets June 26th, 2015

Bacteria Cellulose, Natural Polymers with Applications in Various Industries Synthesized in Iran June 22nd, 2015

Ceramic Nanomembrane, New Material for Dehydration of Natural Gas June 7th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project