Skip to Content

A more profound appreciation for the complexity of natural ice formations’: Researchers unlock cause of ripples on icicles

Experimental physicists growing icicles at the University of Toronto are closer to understanding why some form with ripples up and down their outsides, while others form with smooth, slick, even surfaces.
Icicle article

As described in a study published in Physical Review E, by growing icicles from water samples with different contaminants like sodium chloride (salt), dextrose (sugar) and fluorescent dye, the researchers discovered that water impurities become entrapped within icicles as they form and subsequently create chevron patterns that contribute to a ripple effect around their circumferences.

Here is a link to the full article in UofT's A&S: