Why frozen water create spikes against gravity

Frozen Water Spike

You must have seen these structures inside freezer or in extremely cold weather. But have you ever thought how this forms and defies gravity and seems like water was flowing the upwards direction at the time it freezes. Well the science behind is equally amazing.

These frozen water spikes or columns that appear to defy gravity form due to a phenomenon known as the “Mpemba effect.” The Mpemba effect refers to the observation that in certain circumstances, warmer water can freeze faster than colder water.

When water freezes, its molecules arrange themselves into a crystalline structure, and the ice that forms expands in volume. In the case of pure water, this expansion occurs uniformly, and the ice takes on a smooth, rounded shape.

However, when impurities or dissolved gases are present in the water, they can affect the way that the ice forms. In particular, they can cause the ice to freeze in a non-uniform way, with some areas of the surface freezing faster than others.

In the case of water that is near its freezing point, the Mpemba effect can occur because the warmer water is able to release more of its heat to the surrounding environment before freezing. This can cause the water to reach the freezing point more quickly than colder water, allowing it to freeze in a non-uniform way and form spikes or columns.

The exact mechanism by which the spikes form is not fully understood, but it is thought to involve the way that the ice freezes around the impurities or dissolved gases in the water. As the water freezes, it creates channels through which the water vapor can escape, and these channels can sometimes create a path for the spikes to form.

It’s worth noting that the Mpemba effect is not always observed and can depend on a variety of factors, including the specific properties of the water and the conditions under which it is frozen. Additionally, the spikes that form are relatively small and short-lived and are not typically visible to the naked eye.

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