On the origin and evolution of icicle ripples

On the origin and evolution
of icicle ripples

New Journal of Physics, 15, 103012 (2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1367-2630/15/10/103012

Antony Szu-Han Chen and Stephen W. Morris

Department of Physics, University of Toronto, 60 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A7.

Natural icicles often exhibit ripples about their circumference which are due to a morphological instability. We present an experimental study that explores the origin of the instability, using laboratory-grown icicles. Contrary to theoretical expectations, icicles grown from pure water do not exhibit growing ripples. The addition of a non-ionic surfactant, which reduces the surface tension, does not produce ripples. Instead, ripples emerge on icicles grown from water with dissolved ionic impurities. We find that even very small levels of impurity are sufficient to trigger ripples, and that the growth speed of the ripples increases very weakly with ionic concentration.


Download this paper here:

See the movie:


Go back to the Nonlinear Physics Group papers page


The Experimental Nonlinear Physics Group / Dept. of Physics / University of Toronto / 60 St. George St. Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5S 1A7. Phone (416) 978 - 6810