Scientists calculate speed of ice formation


About ice formation: Ice’s natural formation collectively describes all of the parts of the Earth’s surface where water is in frozen form is the cryosphere. Ice is an important element of the global climate, particularly in regard to the water cycle.

  • Glaciers and snow packs are an important storage mechanism for fresh water and as time pass, they may sublimate or melt.
  • Snowmelt is an important source of seasonal fresh water.

About research:

  • First time, researchers have directly calculated the rate at which water crystallizes into ice in a realistic computer model of water molecules.
  • Understanding ice formation adds to our knowledge of how cold temperatures affect both living and non - living systems.
  • Initial steps of freezing could eventually help to improve weather estimates and climate models, as well as inform the development of better materials for scattering clouds to increase rainfall.

Process of ice from water:

  1. Amir Haji - Akbari is a postdoctoral research associate and Pablo Debenedetti is a professor of chemical and biological engineering, they both research about the process in which, as the temperature drops, water molecules begin to hang to each other to form a drop of solid ice within the surrounding liquid.
  2. These drops disappear quickly after their formation. Rarely, a large enough drop which is known as a critical nucleus emerges and is stable enough to grow rather than to melt.
  3. The process of forming such a critical nucleus is known as nucleation.
  4. To study nucleation, the researchers used a computerized model of water that copycats the two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen found in real water.
  5. Through the computer simulations, the researchers calculated the average amount of time it takes for the first critical nucleus to form at a temperature of about minus 43 degrees Celsius, which is representative of conditions in high - altitude clouds.
  6. They found that, for a cubic meter of pure water, the amount of time it takes for a critical nucleus to form is about one - millionth of a second.

- Published/Last Modified on: August 11, 2015