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Growth rates of icicles

  • N. Maeno (a1), L. Makkonen (a2), K. Nishimura (a1), K. Kosugi (a3) and T. Takahashi (a4)...

Abstract

Experimental and theoretical studies on the growth rate of an icicle were carried out as a function of temperature, water-supply rate and wind speed; the relative humidity was also taken into account. The length of an icicle increases by the downward growth of thin dendritic crystals into the supercooled pendant water drop at the tip, and thus the growth is in the crystallographic a-axis direction. The diameter, on the other hand, increases by the freezing of a water film flowing down along the icicle wall. The ratio of measured length-and diameter-growth rates was large, namely 8–32.

Both growth rates increased with decreasing temperature and increasing wind speed. The increase in water-supply rate led to the decrease in the length-growth rate but no significant change in the diameter-growth rate. These results could be well described by a numerical model of icicle growth which takes account of the dendritic growth at the tip and the wall and the effective heat transfer within the turbulent boundary layer around the icicle. A formation mechanism of ribs and hollows is discussed in relation to the flowing and freezing process of water on an icicle wall.

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