Saturday, January 22, 2011

Have you ever grown your own Ice Spike?

I've never seen an "Ice Spike" until I moved into my current apartment but now I somehow create them all the time! This is the first freezer I've ever had that doesn't have an ice maker, so I use the regular run-of-the-mill blue ice trays. (Although we have been promised one will be installed come March --- yessss!! A dream come true for an ice addict and fanatic such as myself!)

Ice Spike found in my freezer last night!
Anyway... back to the point, which is: Ice Spikes are pretty darn cool. I get at least one almost every time I make ice in this freezer and after doing a little research this morning, apparently there's a lot of pretty cool science behind it.

I do it accidentally but my research shows that others apparently do it on purpose, which makes me smile! :)

I pulled this info from: and here's what they had to say about it, in case you were wondering...

"Ice spikes are odd ice structures that occasionally grow out of ice cube trays.  Unlike some of the strange things you might find growing in your refrigerator, ice spikes are made of nothing but ice.  Ice spikes are the result of physics, not biology. Ice spikes grow as the water in an ice cube tray turns to ice. The water first freezes on the top surface, around the edges of what will become the ice cube. The ice slowly freezes in from the edges, until just a small hole is left unfrozen in the surface.  At the same time, while the surface is freezing, more ice starts to form around the sides of the cube.

Since ice expands as it freezes, the ice freezing below the surface starts to push water up through the hole in the surface ice (see diagram). If the conditions are just right, then water will be forced out of the hole in the ice and it will freeze into an ice spike, a bit like lava pouring out of a hole in the ground to makes a volcano. But water does not flow down the sides of a thin spike, so in that way it is different from a volcano. Rather, the water freezes around the rim of the tube, and thus adds to its length. The spike can continue growing taller until all the water freezes, cutting off the supply, or until the tube freezes shut. The tallest spike we've seen growing in an ordinary ice cube tray was 56mm (2.2in) long. Most ice cube trays produce a few spikes, but usually only if distilled water is used.  Millions of people make ice cubes every day using ordinary tap water, and most don't see ice spikes.  Oddly enough, some people often get plenty of ice spikes using ordinary tap water, but this appears to be rare."

Well, my Ice Spikes must be the rare type because they were made with water right out of the tap.

Sooooo random but interested information to know!

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