A team of scientists in the Czech Republic has successfully turned pure water into metal in a lab, replicating the conditions inside of our Solar system to better understand this phenomenon on other planets.
“You can see the phase transition to metallic water with the naked eye!” says physicist Robert Seidel of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie in Germany. “The silvery sodium-potassium droplet covers itself with a golden glow, which is very impressive. Our study not only shows that metallic water can indeed be produced on Earth, but also characterizes the spectroscopic properties associated with its beautiful golden metallic luster.”
Usually, immense pressure – 48 megabars, which is just under 48 million times the Earth’s atmospheric pressure at sea level – is required to turn pure water into metal. But the team discovered that when pure water is added to an electron-sharing alkali, here an alloy of sodium and potassium, it becomes electronically conductive, but without the high pressures.