Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Yes, Virginia, some snowflakes can look the same!

15.12.2006
Snowflakes are one of the most recognizable and endearing symbols of winter.
Their intricate shapes have been the inspiration for Christmas ornaments, jewelry and U.S. postage stamps. They are the subject of song, school projects and even scientific investigation, including a possible impact on global warming.

Jon Nelson, a researcher with Ritsumeikan University in Japan, has studied snowflakes for 15 years, and has some interesting insights into their delicate structures.

Is it true that no two snowflakes are alike?

The old adage that ‘no two snowflakes are alike' may ring true for larger snowflakes, but it might not hold true for smaller, simpler crystals that fall before they've had a chance to fully develop. Regardless, snow crystals have tremendous diversity, partly due to their very high sensitivity to tiny temperature changes as they fall through the clouds.

... more about:
»Molecule »Water »snowflake

How do snowflakes form?

A snowflake starts as a dust grain floating in a cloud. Water vapor in the air sticks to the dust grain and the resulting droplet turns directly into ice. And that's where the science kicks in.

First, the tiny ice crystal becomes hexagonal (six-sided). This shape originates from the chemistry of the water molecule, which consists of two hydrogen atoms bonded to an oxygen atom. Because of the angle of the water molecule and its hydrogen-bonding, the water molecules in a snowflake chemically bond to each other to form the six-sided flake. The flake eventually sprouts six tiny branches. Each of these branches grows to form side branches in a direction and shape that are influenced by the clustering of water molecules on the ice crystal surfaces.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ILLUSTRATION ABOUT HOW SNOWFLAKES ARE FORMED: http://acswebcontent.acs.org/journalist_resources/snowposter.pdf

Why are scientists interested in the study of snowflakes?

The study of snowflakes, which are really ice crystals, has recently become important due to the possible influences that these crystals have on global climate change. Researchers now believe that ice crystals play a crucial role in ozone depletion, possibly by acting as a catalyst to break down ozone. Ice crystals in the atmosphere also play a key role in building up electric charges in clouds and are therefore believed to influence the production of lightning, although the mechanism is unclear.

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org

Further reports about: Molecule Water snowflake

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>