Holiday Fluids: Snowflakes

Just about everyone wishes for a White Christmas, but even when that happens, it’s rare to get a good look at the beauty of individual snowflakes. Alexey Kljatov’s macro photography of snowflakes is simply stunning and highlights the incredible variety of forms snowflakes take. A snowflake forms when a water droplet freezes onto dust or other particles and grows as more water vapor freezes onto the initial crystal. The symmetry of the snowflakes, as with any crystal, comes from the internal order of its water molecules. The shape and features that form vary due to the local temperature and humidity level while vapor is freezing onto the crystal. Check out this handy graph showing which shapes form for various situations. Since snowflakes can encounter wildly different conditions on their path to the ground, it’s rare or next-to-impossible to find any two alike. Join us all this week at FYFD as we look at holiday-themed fluid dynamics. (Photo credit: A. Kljatov)

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