Water is liquid at room temperature – astounding for such a small molecule. Insights into the causes are provided by a new simulation method, which has its origins in brain research.
The elusive infrared absorption continuum of protons in aqueous environment has been topic of intense controversial debate since half a century. Scientists now show for the case of the Zundel cation the surrounding liquid induces fluctuating electrical forces onto the proton, modulating its vibrational motions between the two water molecules. This mechanism, together with low-frequency thermal motions, results in the extreme broadening of the infrared spectrum.
Researchers investigated the behavior of the small molecule TMAO in water from normal conditions up to ten kilobars. Experiment and simulation showed that some bands in the infrared spectrum shift to higher frequencies at high pressure and also change their shape due to a change in the hydrogen bond network. Such findings open up the prospect of helping to understand how organisms have adapted at the molecular level to life under extreme pressures.
The spreading of mixable liquids into 'droplet hats' was observed for the first time, which could lead to insight into improving strategies for cleaning animals affected by oil spills.
A team of Chinese researchers use computer simulations to provide new answers to a long-standing dispute in the field of material and chemical physics field regarding how water droplets freeze.
As oil producers struggle to adapt to lower prices, getting as much oil as possible out of every well has become even more important, despite concerns from nearby residents that some chemicals used to boost production may pollute underground water resources. Researchers have reported the discovery of a nanotechnology-based solution that could address both issues -- achieving 15 percent tertiary oil recovery at low cost, without the large volume of chemicals used in most commercial fluids.