Nanotubes Can Change The Shape Of Water

in #science3 years ago

Nanotubes from carbon and boron nitride can do interesting stuff with water. The amorphous blob of water molecules transforms into 2D ice when inside the nanotubes making the water molecules act like straight lines.

By Eric Wieser CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Nanotechnology is all about dimensions the size of molecules or atoms. So it is no surprise that it can affect the molecules shape and even other properties. This was recently discovered by scientists from Rice University where a team managed to create nanotubes exactly the right size to fit water molecules. And when the nanotubes have the exact right size the water molecules start acting like small nano stick.

Water has quite extraordinary chemical and physical properties precisely because its molecules have a remarkable geometry. The atoms of hydrogen and oxygen aren’t arranged linearly but the chemical bonds are at an angle of about 104.45 degrees. This allows polar and ion substances to dissolve in water and also enables water’s density anomaly as water has the highest density and 3.98°C.

The team used these unique properties of water to demonstrate their theory that postulates that weak van der Waals forces between the inner surfaces of the nanotubes and the water molecules are strong enough to straighten the hydrogen and oxygen atoms. This creates a material that the team calls “two-dimensional ice”. The 2D ice is always frozen no matter the temperature of the surrounding.

Water experts have known for some time that in tight spaces water molecules start to have interesting structural properties. They created nanotubes from carbon and boron nitride. The water molecules have a diameter of about 3 angströms (1 angström is about 0.1 nanometer). Then they tested the water molecules properties in tubes of a diameter of 8 – 12 angströms. Experiments show the best diameter for straightening water molecules is 10.5 angströms.


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Hello @scisteem

The 2D ice is always frozen no matter the temperature of the surrounding.

It has never occurred to me that water molecules could be manipulated in to exhibiting this sort of physical property. I wish more details were made available to indicate how this I possible in practical terms.

All the same, I learnt a new thing reading this.


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Hey there, that's why I include the link to the study itself, you can find more detail in there.

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This is really quite amazing....

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