Saturday, October 25, 2008

Weird Ice Cube Tray Phenomenon


If any of you happen to have a side degree in physics, maybe you can help me figure this out. Every now and then something weird happens to the water in our ice cube trays. One or two of the cubes will form stalagmites while freezing. What in the world could cause this? Vibrations from the washing machine? Our proximity to several cell phone towers? The reversing of the poles? I'm mystified.

2 comments:

  1. Ice Spikes. You can read about them all over the place.

    www.physics.utoronto.ca/~smorris/edl/icespikes/icespikes.html
    www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/icespikes/icespikes.htm

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  2. That's very cool, thank you. This explanation made sense even to me:

    The short explanation is this: as the ice freezes fast under supercooled conditions, the surface can get covered except for a small hole. Water expands when it freezes. As freezing continues, the expanding ice under the surface forces the remaining water up through the hole and it freezes around the edge forming a hollow spike. Eventually, the whole thing freezes and the spike is left.

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