Exploring water and other liquids at negative pressure

J Phys Condens Matter. 2012 Jul 18;24(28):284110. doi: 10.1088/0953-8984/24/28/284110. Epub 2012 Jun 27.


Water is famous for its anomalies, most of which become dramatic in the supercooled region, where the liquid is metastable with respect to the solid. Another metastable region has been hitherto less studied: the region where the pressure is negative. Here we review the work on the liquid in the stretched state. Characterization of the properties of the metastable liquid before it breaks by nucleation of a vapour bubble (cavitation) is a challenging task. The recent measurement of the equation of state of the liquid at room temperature down to - 26 MPa opens the way to more detailed information on water at low density. The threshold for cavitation in stretched water has also been studied by several methods. A puzzling discrepancy between experiments and theory remains unexplained. To evaluate how specific this behaviour is to water, we discuss the cavitation data on other liquids. We conclude with a description of the ongoing work in our groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Pressure*
  • Volatilization
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Water