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17Dec
2014
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Have you ever seen a snowflake grow?

Posted by :admin


As we are in the cold month of December, watch "Snowtime" by Vyacheslav Ivanov and be truly amazed.
When extremely cold water droplets freezes onto a particle in the sky, for instance a dust particle, an ice crystal is formed. As the ice crystals fall through the air, water molecules freezes onto the crystals and form snowflakes. The ice crystals only allow water molecules to attach in certain positions.. and that's how the beautiful, symmetrical shapes are made!

The Real Chemistry behind Snowflakes

Have you ever thought on the difference between normal snow and snowflakes? Have you ever thought on how the snowflakes are formed? Snowflakes have a wide variety of shapes. Let us try to find out the chemistry behind the various shapes of the snowflakes.

What Are Snowflakes Consist of?

Snowflakes are a form of ice. Snowflakes are formed in clouds. The clouds have water vapour. When the temperature is zero degrees Celsius, water transforms from liquid to ice. Air current, humidity and temperature are the factors which influence the formation of snowflakes. The size and shape of snowflakes are influenced by these factors.

The weight of ice crystals is affected by the mixed up dirt particles. Snowflake becomes heavier due to the dirt particles. These dirt particles cause cracks and breaks in the shape of snowflakes.

The Different Shapes of Snowflakes

In high clouds, snowflakes of the size of six sided hexagon are formed. In middle height clouds, flat six sided crystals which are also known as Needles are formed. In low clouds, six sided crystals of wider range are formed. Snowflakes are created in relatively colder temperature. The snowflakes formed have sharp tips on its sides and as a result the snowflake arms are branched. Those snowflakes which grow under warm conditions are formed slowly. They are smoother and also they have less intricate shapes.

Snowflakes are not at all uniform at all sides.  The non uniform sizes of snowflakes are caused by dirt and uneven temperatures. The snowflakes can have symmetrical shapes in a very rare case.

The shape and size of snowflakes are determined by the water molecules inside it. Very weak bonds are formed between ice and snow like water molecules. Symmetrical shapes are formed due to the ordered arrangements of these water molecules. During the process of crystallization, water molecules are aligned in predetermined shapes, forms and arrangements. In the available vacant space, water molecules fit themselves.

Are Two Snowflakes Identical?

All the snowflakes are not identical. This depends upon the electron movements, the hydrogen-oxygen isotope and on the abundant number of water molecules. As the atmosphere constantly changes, that’s why it’s impossible to find two identical snowflakes.

Why The Snow Always Looks White?

Snow looks white due to the light reflecting surfaces of snowflakes. Also, this depends upon the colour perception of our eyes. Even though light source may seems white in colour, human brain interprets it in another way.

So, from the next time you pass by a snowflake; just remember how it got its form. Lastly, enjoy the video attached here. Thanks.

 

 

Tag(s) : snowflake; snow; science; december,    


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