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Published July 21, 2014 | Submitted
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Toward a Comprehensive Model of Snow Crystal Growth: 3. The Correspondence Between Ice Growth from Water Vapor and Ice Growth from Liquid Water


We examine ice crystal growth from water vapor at temperatures near the melting point, when surface premelting creates a quasiliquid layer at the solid/vapor interface. Recent ice growth measurements as a function of vapor supersaturation have demonstrated a substantial nucleation barrier on the basal surface at these temperatures, from which a molecular step energy can be extracted using classical nucleation theory. Additional ice growth measurements from liquid water as a function of supercooling exhibit a similar nucleation barrier on the basal surface, yielding about the same molecular step energy. These data suggest that ice growth from water vapor and from liquid water are both well described by essentially the same underlying nucleation phenomenon over a substantial temperature range. A physical picture is emerging in which molecular step energies at the solid/liquid, solid/quasiliquid, and solid/vapor interfaces create nucleation barriers that dominate the growth behavior of ice over a broad range of conditions. Since the step energy is an equilibrium quantity, just as surface melting is an equilibrium phenomenon, there exists a considerable opportunity to use many-body simulations of the ice surface structure and energetics at equilibrium to better understand many dynamical aspects of ice crystal growth.

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August 20, 2023
October 26, 2023