We report on the shape dynamics of ice suspended in cold fresh water and subject to the natural convective flows generated during melting. Experiments reveal shape motifs for increasing far-field temperature: Sharp pinnacles directed downward at low temperatures, scalloped waves for intermediate temperatures between Formula Presented and Formula Presented, and upward pointing pinnacles at higher temperatures. Phase-field simulations reproduce these morphologies, which are closely linked to the anomalous density-temperature profile of liquid water. Boundary layer flows yield pinnacles that sharpen with accelerating growth of tip curvature while scallops emerge from a Kelvin-Helmholtz-like instability caused by counterflowing currents that roll up to form vortex arrays. By linking the molecular-scale effects underlying water’s density anomaly to the macroscale flows that imprint the surface, these results show that the morphology of melted ice is a sensitive indicator of ambient temperature.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)