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Crystalline Structure of Ice

Usually, the ice crystals are hexagonal in shape. Snowflakes are perfect example of how ice crystals form. A team of researchers at Liverpool University (University of Liverpool, UK), University of London (University College London, UK) and the Berlin Institute for Fritz Haber (Fritz-Haber Institut, Germany) found a one-dimensional chain of icy nm in length, consisting of rings of pentagonal shape. That is, ice crystals, formed the chain, had only five parties.

Scientists have reproduced the first stages of nucleation of ice crystals from water at the nucleus of condensation in the atmosphere – processes that largely determine patterns of cloud formation. Physicists analyzing the interaction between the droplets on the surface of a flat copper substrate and the formation of ice crystals.

Opening of the pentagonal structures of ice can lead to the development of new materials to control the weather. For example, for planting in the clouds as condensation nuclei to transform the clouds in rain. Scattering of chemicals in the clouds for the modification of cloud particles – known method of changing weather in the local area, mainly to change in precipitation (rain, snow, hail) or dissipation of fog. Currently, the “seed” is used primarily particles of hexagonal shape. Now, the results of this work, it becomes apparent that there may be more efficient to use other forms of particles.

The study authors point out that studies have yielded new interesting information about how to proceed the formation of ice crystals. The results are important for understanding the processes of structure formation of ice on solid substrates, showed the possibility of the influence of nanostructures of ice on some biological and chemical processes in the atmosphere, particularly at the boundaries between two media, where they usually occur – with the participation of water.

The crystalline structure of ice is different from other crystals in several ways. No other known material can assume such a large number of different crystalline structures like ice. The stable phase of ice in ordinary pressures is called ice I (the high-pressure phases are named up to ice XIV). There are mainly two types of ice I one with hexagonal symmetry – ice Ih and that with cubic symmetry is ice Ic. The normal ice being ice Ih we will only focus on ice Ih.

Each oxygen atom inside the ice Ih lattice is in equidistant from four neighboring oxygen atoms, arranged in a tetrahedral arrangement at an approximate distance of 2.75 Angstroms.

There is one hydrogen atom between two oxygen atoms. An oxygen atom has three other neighboring oxygen atoms in its own plane and one more from the plane above or below.

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