The Tale of Two Water


The idea that liquid water could exist in two different forms is surprising and controversial.

The first experimental evidence of the existence of two kind of water, low density and high density water, come back to Mishima’s paper published in 1985.

Recently David Chandler and David T. Limmer, researchers at the University of California at Berkley, claim there isn’t two distinct metastable liquid phases. Their detailed computer simulations reveals only one kind of liquid phase, that could be made a transition to a solid phase.

But the debate is still open. Pablo de Benedetti, chemical physicist at Princeton University (one of my “guru” during my thesis !) decisively disagrees with the conclusions of Chandler and Limmer. Last week at the American Physical Society meeting in Baltimore, De Benedetti has presented computer simulations confirming  the existence of two liquid phase in one of the same condition in which Chandler and Limmer found only one.

The topic is as much complex as interesting.
Further reading:

– Philip Ball’s article on physics world.
– Chandler and Limmer paper on arXiv ” The putative liquid-liquid transition is a liquid -solid transition in atomistic models of water, part II”
Buzzacchi, Del Giudice and Preparata “Glasses: a new view from QED coherence”. This is a very interesting paper in which the authors are also able to give a successful account of the surprising finding of two low-temperature water amorphs and of their phase transition


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