Ice is a complex beast. While you and I only ever come into contact with one kind of it, scientists actually know of around 20 different molecular varieties – some so esoteric and rare, they may only exist inside computer simulations, or buried within distant planets.
But just because water can freeze into a solid in so many different ways, its crystallisation is not necessarily inevitable. In a new experiment, scientists were able to create water that doesn't seem to ever turn into ice, even when subjected to temperatures approaching absolute zero.
Some of these involve the study of what's known as amorphous ice, an amorphous yet solid form of water, where ice never forms because water molecules are prevented from the process of crystallisation.
Last year, scientists in Sweden succeeded in supercooling liquid water to a record-low temperature of around –45 degrees Celsius (–49 degrees Fahrenheit) without ice forming, but now researchers in Switzerland have gone even further.
Using a form of 'nanoconfinement' of water molecules with the help of synthesised lipid-based membranes, researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich were able to take water all the way down to –263 degrees Celsius (–441 degrees Fahrenheit), just 10 degrees Celsius above absolute zero, without it becoming ice.To read more, click here.