Water and tetrahedrals

H2O (water molecule)Image via Wikipedia
A recent article in New Scientist report on the findings of research that confirm the efficiency of tetrahedral crystalline formations to fill any given space.
"People tend to think that the densest packings are always ordered, but there's no fundamental reason why that has to be true," agrees Torquato. "We can't rule out the possibility that the densest packings of tetrahedra will be disordered."
Says adviser Paul Chaikin, "Nobody knows whether the densest packing is ordered or random?" To my mind we already have a clear answer in the behavior of ice, and if you feel left out in the cold it may help to remind you that tetrahedral formations are typical of H2O, and that water reduces in volume when it turns to ice, the result of the ever tighter packing achieved through its ordered tetrahedral crystalline formation.

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