Melting curves of ice polymorphs in the vicinity of the liquid-liquid critical point

Pablo M. Piaggi, Thomas E. Gartner, Roberto Car, Pablo G. Debenedetti

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The possible existence of a liquid-liquid critical point in deeply supercooled water has been a subject of debate due to the challenges associated with providing definitive experimental evidence. The pioneering work by Mishima and Stanley [Nature 392, 164-168 (1998)] sought to shed light on this problem by studying the melting curves of different ice polymorphs and their metastable continuation in the vicinity of the expected liquid-liquid transition and its associated critical point. Based on the continuous or discontinuous changes in the slope of the melting curves, Mishima [Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 334 (2000)] suggested that the liquid-liquid critical point lies between the melting curves of ice III and ice V. We explore this conjecture using molecular dynamics simulations with a machine learning model based on ab initio quantum-mechanical calculations. We study the melting curves of ices III, IV, V, VI, and XIII and find that all of them are supercritical and do not intersect the liquid-liquid transition locus. We also find a pronounced, yet continuous, change in the slope of the melting lines upon crossing of the liquid locus of maximum compressibility. Finally, we analyze the literature in light of our findings and conclude that the scenario in which the melting curves are supercritical is favored by the most recent computational and experimental evidence. Although the preponderance of evidence is consistent with the existence of a second critical point in water, the behavior of ice polymorph melting lines does not provide strong evidence in support of this viewpoint, according to our calculations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number054502
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 7 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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