Bubbles Encased in Ice

A research poster describing how bubbles form in ice.

If you’ve ever made ice in a freezer, you’ve probably noticed the streaks of frozen bubbles inside the ice. In its liquid state, water is good at dissolving various gases — like the carbon dioxide in sparkling water. During freezing, though, those gases cannot remain in solution; the water simply doesn’t have space between its crystalline ice lattice for non-water molecules. So the gases are forced out of solution, where they form bubbles. The final shape of the frozen bubble depends on the interplay between the speed of a bubble’s growth and how quickly the ice freezes. Here, the researchers used polarized light to outline the bubbles in color, highlighting the wide array of possible shapes. (Image credit: J. Meijer and D. Lohse; via GoSM)

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