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A charge for freezing water at different temperatures

Experiments use positive and negative electric forces to tweak ice formation

By
3:44pm, February 5, 2010

A watched pot never boils, but an electrically charged pot sometimes freezes.

A study in the Feb. 5 Science reports that water can freeze at different temperatures depending on whether the surface it rests on is positively or negatively charged. Under certain conditions, water can even freeze as it heats up.

“We are very, very surprised by this result,” says study coauthor Igor Lubomirsky of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. “It means that by controlling surface charge, either positive or negative, you can either suppress ice formation or enhance ice formation.”

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