Scientists identify new kind of ice that requires extremely hot temperatures to form

February 8, 2018 by  
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Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California have discovered a new form of ice known as that is thought to exist within the core of gas giant planets. Published in the journal Nature , this study documents the first observed instance of the so-called superionic ice originally predicted 30 years ago. The ice maintains a solid lattice structure of oxygen atoms with energetic, liquid-like hydrogen ions moving within. While it could only be created on Earth under very specific lab conditions, scientists believe it would be stable under the extreme temperature and pressure conditions found in planets such as Uranus and Neptune . Unlike traditional ice, superionic ice actually requires extremely hot temperatures, combined with intense pressure, to form. Using a technique known as shock compression, scientists created laboratory conditions that match those found on gas giants and successfully prompted water to become superionic. The researchers noted the ice melts at near 5000 Kelvin (K) under pressure levels two million times that of Earth’s atmosphere. “Our work provides experimental evidence for superionic ice and shows that these predictions were not due to artifacts in the simulations, but actually captured the extraordinary behavior of water at those conditions,”  said lead author and physicist Marius Millot. Related: Scientists observe ‘diamond rain’ similar to that found on icy giant planets While the real-world creation of superionic ice is groundbreaking, so too are the simulations that informed the experiment. “Driven by the increase in computing resources available, I feel we have reached a turning point,” explained co-author and physicist Sebastien Hamel . “We are now at a stage where a large enough number of these simulations can be run to map out large parts of the phase diagram of materials under extreme conditions in sufficient detail to effectively support experimental efforts.” The experiment has major implications for planetary science, painting a picture of gas giant cores composed of a thin layer of fluid surrounded by a thick mantle of superionic ice. The findings are especially poignant as NASA prepares for a potential probe mission to Uranus and/or Neptune. Via Gizmodo Images via  S. Hamel/M. Millot/J.Wickboldt/LLNL/NIF

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Scientists identify new kind of ice that requires extremely hot temperatures to form

Asif Khan unveils the darkest building on earth for 2018 Winter Olympics

February 8, 2018 by  
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British-based architect Asif Khan unveiled a super-black pavilion at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics that he describes as the “darkest building on earth.” Built for Hyundai Motor, the temporary Pyeongchang Olympic Park pavilion is fully coated in Vantablack VBx2—a material that can absorb 99 percent of the light that hits its surface. As a result, the pavilion looks like a gaping black void even in broad daylight. Standing at 10 meters (33 feet) tall, the 2018 Winter Olympics Hyundai Motor pavilion draws inspiration from the automotive company’s technology and offers a unique interactive experience. Khan attached thousands of tiny white lights to the super-black parabolic facades, evoking images of a starry night sky. The steel-framed building measures 35 meters (115 feet) by 35 meters. In contrast to the super-dark facade, the interior is a brightly lit white room housing a multi-sensory interactive water installation. Haptic sensors allow visitors to interact with the hydrophobic installation that emits 25,000 singular water droplets per minute; the water droplets zoom down channels, collide, split, and eventually pool into a drain. “From a distance the structure has the appearance of a window looking into the depths of outer space,” said Khan. “As you approach it, this impression grows to fill your entire field of view. So on entering the building, it feels as though you are being absorbed into a cloud of blackness.” Related: Video: Anish Kapoor’s “Decension” is a black vortex in the floor of an old movie theater He continues: “The water installation visitors discover inside is brightly lit in white. As your eyes adjust, you feel for a moment that the tiny water drops are at the scale of the stars. A water droplet is a size every visitor is familiar with. In the project I wanted to move from the scale of the cosmos to the scale of water droplets in a few steps. The droplets contain the same hydrogen from the beginning of the universe as the stars.” The 2018 Winter Olympics Hyundai Motor Pavilion will open at the Pyeongchang 2018 Opening Ceremony on February 9, 2018. + Asif Khan Via WAN Images via Luke Hayes

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Asif Khan unveils the darkest building on earth for 2018 Winter Olympics

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