Ice Ribbons

Homeschool science can take on some fascinating subjects. Have you ever seen an ice ribbon? This is so cool.

 

What you are looking at is an ice ribbon. They are also sometimes called a frost flower. It’s been about a decade since a viewer sent me a picture of one. I have only seen them myself once.

So what are they? Are they natural? Are they really ice?

The answer is yes. They are ice and they are indeed natural.

They form when liquid water inside a stem seeps out into the open air and freezes. Capillary action inside the plant pumps more water out so a continuous stream of ice is formed. Almost like a tiny glacier!

So why does the water inside the plant not freeze too?

The most likely answer is that the water is coming up from the ground where the temperature is above freezing. If the water is under pressure, the freezing point is lower so the water could be super cooled. Water only freezes at 0C at standard atmospheric pressure of 1013.25mb (29.92” of Hg on the old scale). Click here to view the photos and read more.

Nancy

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