Percolation and three-dimensional structure of supercritical water.


It is well established that at ambient and supercooled conditions water can be described as a percolating network of H bonds. This work is aimed at identifying, by neutron diffraction experiments combined with computer simulations, a percolation line in supercritical water, where the extension of the H-bond network is in question. It is found that in real supercritical water liquidlike states are observed at or above the percolation threshold, while below this threshold gaslike water forms small, sheetlike configurations. Inspection of the three-dimensional arrangement of water molecules suggests that crossing of this percolation line is accompanied by a change of symmetry in the first neighboring shell of molecules from trigonal below the line to tetrahedral above.


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