Curator’s Choice: Most Awesome Comment of the Day
Have you ever seen ice grow upward on your ice tray and wondered why?Lyle Hardin was curious about why the bowl of ice he left out overnight turned out this curious configuration. Our Community had an interesting collective response! Brady MacDonald noted this phenomenon is known as an Ice Spike. Casey Webster explains:
“Water vapor gradients are strongest around edges of ice. The thinner and sharper of the edge or point, the stronger the gradient. This causes ice to preferentially grow where the gradient is stronger. With a good initial perturbation this results in a spike growing just as you pictured.”
Kevin Lui from Caltech University shows that ice spikes tend to work better with distilled water. There is higher success of growing them “when the temperature is just below freezing” and when installing a fan to blow the air in your freezer. Lui should know; he investigated the Physics of ice spikes (http://goo.gl/8HUNmW).
Stephen Morris, Professor of experimental nonlinear Physics at the University of Toronto, has also devoted his research to ice spikes. He notes in Scientific American that ice spikes are more likely to be formed in an ice tray (“a container with vertical sides”), birdbaths or pet drinking dishes left out overnight. But he also notes: “It is rather rare for them to form naturally – like on the surface of lakes or ponds — because the cooling rate of natural bodies of water is usually not rapid enough. They can, however, sometimes form on falling sleet pellets.” (http://goo.gl/KqJhq4).
Want to see an ice spike growing at rapid speed or other science resources? Check out Morris’ ice spikes webpage! (http://goo.gl/YOkXVi)
Chosen for #SoG+CuratorsChoice by Zuleyka Zevallos who loves learning cool science from our Community members. #science #physics #ice #icespike
Originally shared by Lyle Hardin
Can anyone explain this phenomenon? I found this on the deck a few years ago, one very cold morning. It was just a small glass bowl of water. Somehow, when it froze overnight, this happened. I wish I would’ve taken more photos and recorded the temperature, etc.