Re: Cryonet Message #10564 - nanoassembly

Hal Finney (
Wed, 14 Oct 1998 08:40:51 -0700

[Apologies if this is a repost]

Hara Ra, <>, writes, quoting Michael Lorrey:
> > Since you won't have ice
> >crystals, won't the body be severely dehydrated once it is warmed to the 1
> >degree point????
> No. The water molecules are where they should be, not as ice crystals, but
> distributed in the cytoplasm, etc.

The November 1998 Scientific American has an article about liquid water and its interactions with organic molecules. The water molecules have electrostatic charges, positive where the hydrogen atoms are and negative on the opposite side by the oxygen atom. This causes them to attract each other and stick together.

If you have a low temperature system, and you place two water molecules near each other with a separation characteristic of a higher temperature system, they will attract each other with their electrostatic charges and move together.

It will not be possible to scatter water molecules through a region with an average spacing characteristic of higher temperatures. It would be like trying to position powerful magnets 1/4 inch apart on a table top. The magnets would clump up. Similarly, the water molecules will clump together as well, forming ice crystals separated by voids.

This is not necessarily harmful; at the low temperatures involved, the vapor pressures will be very low and few molecules will break free to wander through the vacuum-filled voids between the ice. These ice crystals are all positioned in areas where we wanted water, anyway; between large molecules and organelles.

You'd have to look at the details of the heating process to be sure that the ice crystals would melt in a safe manner, but hopefully it would be workable.