We have learned since childhood that water conducts electricity. But in reality, pure water is an almost perfect insulator. Its ability to conduct electricity is due to dissolved substances and salts that disintegrate into ions, allowing electric current to flow.
But in theory, you can achieve it The pure water began to conduct electricity. All you need to do is press the atoms hard enough. how much? In the case of water, you need to achieve a pressure of 48 megabars, or simply – less than 48 million times greater than atmospheric pressure at sea level. Then the electrons in the outer shells begin to overlap, allowing them to move. It occurs naturally only in the hearts of large planets like Jupiter. Although the same pressure can be obtained under laboratory conditions, it is not well suited for testing “mineral” water.
Scientists therefore proposed a slightly different solution, which would begin in 2021. It then turned out that the metal could be obtained in a slightly different and simpler way. If pure water comes into contact with an alkali metal that shares electrons (in the case of this experiment, it was a sodium-potassium alloy), a metallic character can be added to the water.
There was only one problem, which was that the alkali metals reacted very vigorously (read: explosively) with water. Sodium or other alkaline metals immediately begin to burn in the water. The team tried to control this violent reaction. Instead of dropping a coin into the liquid, he placed a thin layer of it over a drop of an alkali metal (a Na-K alloy of sodium and potassium that is liquid at room temperature).
A nozzle was placed in the vacuum chamber from which the said alloy slowly dripped. The small droplet grew for about 10 seconds before it separated from the nozzle and fell. As the droplet grew, water vapor was added, which formed a very thin layer on its surface. Upon contact, electrons and metal cations (positively charged ions) transfer from the melt to the water.
This not only allowed the pure water to conduct electricity, but also gave it an unusual golden sheen.
– The stage of transition to mineral water can be seen with the naked eye! The silver droplet of sodium and potassium is covered in a golden glow, making a big impression – reports Dr. Robert Seidel, who supervised the experiments in BESSY II.
Although the thin layer of golden-colored mineral water was only visible for a few seconds, it enabled the team led by the professor to discover this layer. Pavel Jungwirth of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, proving that it is indeed water in a mineral state.
This type of research not only helps understand the phase transition on Earth, but may also allow detailed examination of extremely high-pressure conditions inside large planets.
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