Medium-density Amorphous Ice

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Recently, scientists have fashioned a previously unknown form of ice – one that might exist on our solar system’s icy moons.

About Medium-density amorphous ice:

  • The researchers employed a process called ball milling to vigorously shake ordinary ice together with steel balls in a container cooled to minus-328 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-200 degrees Celsius).
  • This yielded what they called “medium-density amorphous ice,” or MDA, which looked like a fine white powder.

What is amorphous ice?

  • Amorphous ice consists of water molecules arranged in a disordered state, with no large-scale regularity to their orientations or positions. 
  • This kind of ice is most often found in space.
  • Scientists have identified 20 different forms of crystalline ice and three forms of amorphous ice – one low density (discovered in the 1930s), one high density (discovered in the 1980s), and the new one in between.


Q1) How does high-density amorphous ice form?

The high-density amorphous ice forms by compressing ordinary ice at a temperature lower than –150 ˚C; under high pressure.

Source:  With frigid innovation, scientists make a new form of ice