Chemistry Question #98

Andrew Foster, a 18 year old male from the Internet asks on December 3, 1999,

In the book Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., there is a chemical compound called Ice-nine. Ice-nine is a formula that freezes anything under 114 degrees centigrade. My question is: Is or has there been anything invented/tested that resembles this product?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on December 2, 1999

Yes, in real life there is something called Ice-9. If you take water and subject it to about -120C and 200 atmospheres of pressure (2000 times the pressure on the surface of the Earth) you get a crystalline state called Ice-IX, or Ice-9. But it's not like Vonnegut's Ice-nine. It can't do what Vonnegut's fictional stuff could and it does not occur in Nature. If you warm it up or reduce the pressure it just melts like ordinary ice. You can see a chart of all the states of solid water and even a note about Vonnegut at the Physics of Ice.

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