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Sensational discovery in research

Physics teaches us that water always freezes into six-sided ice-crystals.  This fact can easily be proven by taking a closer look at a snowflake under a microscope.  No snowflake resembles another; however the shape is always six-sided.

Researchers from the London Center for Nanotechnolgy at the University College of London, the University of Liverpool and the Frizt-Haber Institute in Berlin have made a sensational discovery.

At a temperature of minus 173 degrees Celsius five-sided ice-crystals form on a copper surface in a vacuum.  These crystals grow in a very narrow chain of rings, which are formed by 5 water molecules each, approx. one nanometre wide.

According to the scientists the reason for this unusual behaviour of water molecules can be attributed to the surface structure of copper.  Water can form the maximum contact to copper in this five-sided configuration.

The Berlin physicist Angelos Michaelides claims that this discovery could offer valuable knowledge in the development of materials for targeted ice formation.

Such considerations play a significant role in the creation of artificial rain.

The results of the tests regarding the five-sided ice-crystals have been published in the journal ?Nature Materials? (DOI:10.1038/NMAT2403)

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