Contact Freezing of Water by Salts

Joseph Niehaus, Michigan Technological University
Will Cantrell, Michigan Technological University


© 2015 American Chemical Society. Water is unlikely to crystallize homogeneously at temperatures greater than -34°C. Freezing at higher temperatures is heterogeneous - catalyzed by the presence of a second substance. If that substance is at an air-water interface, then the mode is called contact freezing, and it typically will trigger nucleation at a higher temperature than if the substance were wholly immersed within the liquid. We find that the impact of salt particles initiates freezing in experiments using water droplets at supercoolings of 9 to 16°C. These results show that contact freezing nuclei need not be effective as immersion mode nuclei. We discuss our results in the context of proposed mechanisms of contact freezing. Finally, we use the time scales for diffusion of heat and of ions and the propagation of a sound wave through the droplet to estimate that contact freezing occurs within 10 ns of impact. (Figure Presented).