Ice Crystal Agglomeration: T Formation

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  • 1 Physics Dept., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
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Abstract

Numerous agglomerates shaped somewhat like the letter T were observed among replicas of ice crystals collected from laboratory ice clouds and replicated using the resin vapor technique. In fact, it was found that about 55% and 60% of all aggregates were T formations when the crystals involved were columns and platelets, respectively. Several processes, including an electrical and a hydrodynamic mechanism, are considered as possible explanations for the formation of T's. The temperature gradients existing in growing ice particles were calculated, and the resulting charge separation due to the thermoelectric effect in ice is found to be far too small to account for the relative abundance of T's experimentally observed. A hydrodynamic process, however, offers a reasonable explanation for T formation.

Abstract

Numerous agglomerates shaped somewhat like the letter T were observed among replicas of ice crystals collected from laboratory ice clouds and replicated using the resin vapor technique. In fact, it was found that about 55% and 60% of all aggregates were T formations when the crystals involved were columns and platelets, respectively. Several processes, including an electrical and a hydrodynamic mechanism, are considered as possible explanations for the formation of T's. The temperature gradients existing in growing ice particles were calculated, and the resulting charge separation due to the thermoelectric effect in ice is found to be far too small to account for the relative abundance of T's experimentally observed. A hydrodynamic process, however, offers a reasonable explanation for T formation.

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