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What is ice?

Brittle as glass and hard as stone. Transparent as air and muddy as smoke. Light as a feather and heavy as lead. It draws a thin crust of morning autumn puddles, covers winter skating rinks, will increase the coat in the freezer. It is thrown into lemonade and champagne, it is applied to bruises. So what is this? Correctly! This is ice! And what is ice, you know? Where does he come from?

Ice as a state of matter

In the conventional sense, ice is frozen water. In scientific terms, ice is water in a solid state, also called aggregate. Ice is formed under the influence of low temperatures and pressure. Ice formation occurs as a result of crystallization - a change in the state of the molecular lattice. Some other liquid and gaseous substances are also transformed into such a state.

Ice properties

The most famous property of ice is its ability to melt or melt. We have already written about this property in the article Why the ice is melting. But this is not his only ability. Ice can flow, float, crack. The physical properties of ordinary ice that exists in nature depend on its age, pressure, and temperature.

Ice properties:

  • colorless (does not have color);
  • transparency (transmits light);
  • hardness (retains shape);
  • buoyancy (low density);
  • fluidity (able to flow like a viscous fluid);
  • cleavage (ability to crack in crystallographic directions);
  • fragility (fragility).

Ice on earth, in the ocean, in space

On our planet, ice exists on land and in the ocean. This is atmospheric ice, glacial, water (sea) and underground.

  • Atmospheric ice. Frozen particles of water suspended in the atmosphere, which also fall as precipitation: snow, hail, frost.
  • Glacial ice. This is an ice monolithic rock forming glaciers. Glaciers appear as a result of snow accumulation and compaction.
  • Ground ice Frozen water, which is located in the upper layers of the earth's crust and is contained in its permafrost.

Ice in the ocean - sea ice. It can be annual and perennial, immobile and drifting (floating). Freshwater floating ice, icebergs - this breakaway pieces of glacial ice, descended into the ocean.

There is ice in space. It is found in the nuclei of comets, on the planets of the solar system and their satellites. For example, the surface of one of the moons of Jupiter consists entirely of ice.

Ice phases

Ice phases are the steps of its transitional physical state, changes in chemical composition. Some phases of ice are formed in the natural environment, others need special conditions. Currently, science knows the following types of ice and its ice phase:

  • amorphous;
  • hexagonal (ice Ih and ice XI);
  • cubic (ice Ic, ice VII and ice VIII);
  • trigonal (ice II);
  • tetragonal (ice III, ice VI, ice IX and ice XII);
  • metastable (ice IV);
  • monoclinic (ice V, ice XIII);
  • symmetrical (ice X);
  • crystalline (ice XIII, ice XIV, ice XV).

Currently, scientists predict the possibility of the formation of other phases of ice and modifications of its varieties. Research laboratories are continuing studies of this natural mineral, as ice is used in many industries, and also helps to explore the past of our planet and the laws and phenomena of the cosmos.


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