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I see the term "superionic" applied to high pressure water in articles like Giant planets may host superionic water, but I don't understand what the term really means.

How is "superionic" distinguished from simply "ionic"?

Why does the article refer to hydrogen "atoms", which would imply that they are neutral, as opposed to protons or hydronium or some other actual ion?

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    $\begingroup$ Written by an intern? You will probably have to read the original articles by Laurence E. Fried: Phys. Rev. Lett. 2005, 94, 217801 and Phys. Rev. Lett. 2005, 94, 125508 $\endgroup$ Mar 3, 2015 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ @KlausWarzecha Those articles helped some. Seems that there are H2O, H3O+ and OH- species that are all very shortlived and protons are moving much more than the oxygens. But still I don't comprehend any defining characterists that would let me know when to use the term "superionic". For superconductor or superfluid there is a clear defining property, but I don't seen anything like that for superionic. $\endgroup$
    – DavePhD
    Mar 3, 2015 at 16:19
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    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superionic_water $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Mar 3, 2015 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron I still don't understand $\endgroup$
    – DavePhD
    Mar 3, 2015 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ nature.com/nmat/journal/v10/n9/full/nmat3066.html - it seems superionic means possesing extremely high ionic conductivity $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Mar 3, 2015 at 17:19

1 Answer 1

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Superionic water is water under extreme heat and temperature with the properties of both solids and liquids.
It is where the water only exists as a mixture of $\ce{H+}$ and $\ce{OH-}$ ions. At high pressures, the oxygen crystallises, leaving the hydrogen ions free - thus making superionic water highly conductive.
It's crystal structure is a face-centred cubic lattice, and it is thought that Uranus and Neptune hold a layer of superionic water.

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