Frost Spreading

Frost typically forms when supercooled droplets of water scattered across a surface freeze together. The freezing spreads via tiny ice bridges that link droplets together into a frozen network. The animation above shows this process in action. Freezing starts in a droplet off-screen on the right and quickly spreads. Watch carefully, and you can see the ice bridges growing toward the unfrozen droplets. This is because the ice bridges are fed by water vapor evaporating from the droplets. If one can spread the droplets far enough from one another, it’s possible for a droplet to evaporate completely before the ice bridge reaches it, thereby disrupting the spread of frost.  (Video credit: J. Boreyko et al.; research paper)

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