Supercool, and Strange

Posted on February 8, 2008 

Supercool, and Strange

Supercool, and Strange

You wouldn’t expect to learn much about the properties of water by watching a square dance. But think again. Following the caller’s lead, the dancers meet, separate, weave, and swing in a perfectly fluid manner.

It turns out that similar coordinated maneuvers—with water molecules taking the places of the dancers—may be responsible for some of water’s most puzzling features, an array of recent research findings suggest.

In the case of water, the square dance occurs among molecules that have four arms, instead of two. That’s because each water molecule has the potential to form four hydrogen bonds. The result is a network of tetrahedrons, or pyramids with a triangular base.

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