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Observe The Science Of A Snowflake

26/12/2012

 

You won’t take those eye-catching geometric patterns on snowflakes for granted after seeing this video.

You might agree that the complex design in a snowflake appears almost comparable to a work of art. Do you know how that tiny frozen masterpiece

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comes to life, though? If you’re like me, you may never have witnessed a complete representation of that journey from cloud to ground before.
The trip isn’t as simple as you think.
According to an animated video by the American Chemical Society, clouds carry around one of the usual suspects of a snowflake — a small piece of dust. When water vapor attaches to a dust grain, it creates an icy droplet ready to fall to the ground. While floating in mid-air, the droplet crystallizes, and a prism with six faces forms.
As the ice grows toward the edges of each side of the prism, six branches sprout out from the center and create the familiar shape of a snowflake — since freezing water molecules chemically bond in a hexagonal fashion. From there, the snowflake develops its unique series of branches due to shifts in temperature before hitting the ground. Isn’t science wonderful?
Watch the two-minute video to see the science of a snowflake in more detail; I’ll be sure to play it at my next holiday gathering to geek things up a little bit. On second thought, such behavior might ensure I don’t get invited back next year.

cnet

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