How To Make Ice Ribbons

I love science. It is such a fascinating subject. Have you ever seen or made ice ribbons? Today’s featured article shows us how to do that. There are plenty of photos and step by step directions. If you do not have access to the supplies listed on the website, I wonder if something similar can be constructed using straws, paper cups, and simple things around the home? Then put the experiment in the freezer? It is after all an experiment. We have nothing to lose by trying.

I was not able to find any ice on plant stems in the fall       and winter 2006-2007 season, although I looked many places.  But, I       did take on the challenge of trying to explain how ice forms on plant       stems.  I put water in cans and bottles, experimented       with plastic straws and tubes, played with dried plant       stems, and tried everything I could think of.  In the process I spent       much time in freezing temperatures and in the end proved nothing.        But, I did gain some insight into the nature of the freezing and       thawing of water. 

Then in January 2007 I was introduced to these photos of ice being extruded from the fence.  This gave me another challenge and I started trying to grow and extrude ice similar to what I thought I       saw in the photos.  The photos below show some of my early       results.  I had some large plastic pipes and I stated with       those.  I put caps on them and drilled holes into them.  Ultimately, expanding ice cracked all of the plastic pipes.  The photo on the left shows that in a large plastic pipe with no cap on the  top the ice did rise in the pipe as the water froze.  When it was capped on the top, water spilled over the sides until the ice at the top       froze.  Then the pipe cracked, as shown in the middle photo.  To  the right I show the core of a plastic pipe after it shattered due to the       expansion of the ice.  I had never thought about it, but of course the ice freezes from the outside in.  In this example we can see the hollow core in the center which was filled with the water that had not yet frozen. Click here to learn more and view the photos.

Nancy

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