The Generation of Large Numbers of Ice Crystals in an Electric Field

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  • 1 State University of New York at Albany
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Abstract

A very small electrically conducting wire or fiber, when charged to about 3000 V dc in a cold chamber with its air supersaturated with respect to ice, produces a dense streamer of tiny, free floating ice crystals in the temperature range −8 to −15C. Some of the crystals show evidence their structure is modified by the electrical field or that coagulation with other crystals or cloud droplets occurs.

That similar effects occur in natural clouds is suggested by the occurrence of certain crystal types in snow storms.

The concentration of crystals which form in the cold chamber could, if the phenomenon occurs in convective clouds, readily explain the chain reaction mechanism which must occur when such clouds are rapidly glaciated.

The suggestion is made that studies of the role played by tiny fibers in clouds should be initiated.

Abstract

A very small electrically conducting wire or fiber, when charged to about 3000 V dc in a cold chamber with its air supersaturated with respect to ice, produces a dense streamer of tiny, free floating ice crystals in the temperature range −8 to −15C. Some of the crystals show evidence their structure is modified by the electrical field or that coagulation with other crystals or cloud droplets occurs.

That similar effects occur in natural clouds is suggested by the occurrence of certain crystal types in snow storms.

The concentration of crystals which form in the cold chamber could, if the phenomenon occurs in convective clouds, readily explain the chain reaction mechanism which must occur when such clouds are rapidly glaciated.

The suggestion is made that studies of the role played by tiny fibers in clouds should be initiated.

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