Exotic new states of water have raised questions about what we really know about one of the most common and abundant substances on the planet.

First there was the discovery that you can actually burn salt water if you zap it with just the right radio frequency, fueling hopes that plain old seawater could someday be converted to abundant clean energy. Researchers have found that water forms a floating bridge when exposed to high voltages. Other researchers also recently discovered that you can make water stay frozen at very warm temperatures if you coat it with a special diamond mixture. These are all surprising twists stemming from H2O—the abundant substance we all thought we knew so well.

Harvard physicists have found that specially treated diamond coatings can keep hot water in a frozen state.The researchers said the finding may be useful in certain medical implants, although others argue that diamonds might cause blood clots. In either case, the big news was that diamonds can make water solid. The Harvard team found that even a very thing layer of diamond coated with sodium atoms will keep warm water in a solid state up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit.

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