Monday, February 1, 2010

Iceflower Icecrystal Creation

Ice flowers at domestic windows are becoming an extinct phenomenon today. After posting photos of iceflowers, frozen waterfall cascades and meditating about an icy tiny creek I was asked how to create iceflowers. So what are the conditions that lead to the creation of iceflowers on window panes?
The production of iceflowers needs a higher space humidity, which means that the windowpanes are kind of misted or fogged up. The windows are not hermetic, not tight and there is a certain amount of air exchange from the interior space (in the living room or just warm room) to the interspace (or space in between the windows) to the outdoor space.
Ideal conditions you get with old windows. The ones shown above are from the year 1909. (They are still kind of new compared to the age of the house which was built in 1578 or so).
Iceflowers have disappeared from modern windows because of the good isolation. They are to be seen and formed in the winter on thin windowpanes, if outside minus degrees prevail and it's warm and damp inside. It works best when the windowpanes are a little dirty. Because then the humidity remains hanging on the dirt particles and freezes. After some time an ice sheet is formed, which looks like many small flowers. The crystal plants offer the opportunity to study the formation from ice and snow.
There is a project where you can produce virtual icecrystals in a virtual cooling chamber. Here one can let grow (under controlled conditions) ice crystals. In order to start simulation, the sliding control must be pushed in the diagram onto the desired position. In this attempt one has the sliding control for the first two growth phases onto the first position (0° C to -3° C) pushed, for the third phase on the fifth position (- 12° C to -16° C) and for the fourth phase on position two (- 3° C to -5° C). The developed ice crystal exists in the core of thin hexagonal plates. As soon as the automatic controller is released, the crystal grows. This growth procedure can be accomplished up to five times.
The photos above and below show a bit of the inner structure of iceflowers. Personally I think that the development of iceflowers has also got to do with the presence of certain bacteria and bacteria cultures or other microorganisms. So ... the windows are not just 'dirty' ... they are cultivated by micro-organisms.
If you have the time I'll share some more small talk about this phenomenon.
In winter times we normally provide pleasant temperatures in the room for the evening, by heating. At night we let the temperatures drop to save some heating costs.
Now when the air gets colder, the fewer water it can take up. If the temperature in the room sinks, air is thus surfeited with water. The water sets off. And the windowpanes of singlevitreous windows are usually nearly as cold as the air outside. If they have a temperature under 0° C, then the gaseous water from the air can freeze directly on the windowpane. Some people call this phenomenon 'Sublimation' - the water becomes liquid and then freezes.
So how do iceflowers grow? Iceflowers begin at a seed, this can be a tiny uneveness or dust grains on the windowpane. There the water deposits itself and forms the basic stick for an iceflower. More and more further water molecules store themselves and the thing grows. Several water molecules grow together soon and more thickly and branch out even more. Complex samples develop.
The exact form, after which an ice flower grows, cannot be predicted. The coincidence always plays thereby a role. There are attempts to describe the sample of ice flowers with fractals. The term 'fractal' comes from the computer scientist Benoit Mandelbrot (1975). He was concerned with the process of coasts, the shape of mountains and the form of clouds. He stated that all these forms could not be completely described with mathematical methods. The coastal process of a country about can be never determined accurately with a line. Mandelbrot spoke of a 'fractal' dimension, thus being an uncomplete dimension of natural buildings.
One of the most fascinating characteristics of fractals is their self similarity. This means that a small cutout of such a thing is similar to the whole one. Ice Flowers result from the multiple application of the same simple rules.

In order to give to children something from this before-Christmas joy, parents and grandparents with children and grandchildren often seize water, sugar and brush and create own ice flowers at the windows of children's rooms and Christmas rooms.
Material bill: * A dish * A cup water * Two cups sugars * A spoon * Brush * Templates

1 comment: said...

Wow, there is a great deal of effective material above!

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