ABOUT ME

I live in a camper van with a couple of West Highland Terriers for company.
My passion is photography but it is a work in progress.
I am always willing to share what knowledge I have and can be contacted through the comments on this post or e-mail ADRIAN
ALL IMAGES WILL ENLARGE WITH A LEFT CLICK

Sunday, 7 January 2018

HAIR ICE.

This morning dawned still and cold. It didn't seem too bad as it is a perfect winters day, sunny, -8°C and not a breath of wind so thank heaven for the CCGT turbines. I went down to the local shop and it was cold there so cold I saw a socialist with his hands in his own pockets.
Here are some Hair Ice snaps, the first of the year.




They are not as impressive as I have seen but still fascinating. There was a Beech branch with longer hairs but unfortunately Alf pissed on it before I could chase him off.
Have fun.

18 comments:

  1. The wonders of nature, always there to amaze us!
    I've never had the experience of seeing this in 'the wild', although I'd love to...not too sure about those cold temperatures though!
    I'm guessing Alf wasn't that impressed and was working on the premise of...'if I can't chase it or eat it then I'll just piss on it'?...[;o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trevor, it's even colder today. -11°C first thing and not much warmer now. It is superb stuff. The dogs are a pest when mixed with a nature walk.

      Delete
  2. I've neither seen nor heard of hair ice before. Is it what cumulatively becomes hoar frost or is it something completely different?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucy, completely different. It is triggered by a fungus as far as I know and grows to about12cm long. This stuff here is about 4cm. I have tried popping a Beech stick into the freezer but can't make it produce Hair Ice.

      Delete
  3. I was reminded of a previous post of yours, Adrian, about hair frost, when hair frost was featured in a recent 'Countryfile' (I think) programme. Your new set of images is wonderful!

    Best wishes - - - Richard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Richard, I wonder if they knew the cause of it. I have read conflicting theories.

      Delete
    2. Apparently, according to the programme, the wood absorbs a lot of moisture and then exudes it slowly in freezing conditions. I seem to remember that they said that the spectacle was peculiar to one species of tree (it may have been Beech, as you have found). I guess it must be something to do with the texture of the surface (bark?) of the wood.

      Delete
    3. Thanks Richard. I read a German paper on it so may have got a little muddled. Your explanation makes sense.
      Bark doesn't seem to play a part but beech does have many pores when planed wood is examined. Soaks up water then has it contracts in the cold the water is squeezed out and freezes as it does so.
      Job sorted, thanks again.

      Delete
    4. PS.
      That was the aim of the researchers who have now published their work in Biogeosciences. Preuß studied samples of hair-ice-bearing wood collected in the winters of 2012, 2013 and 2014 in forests near Brachbach in western Germany. She analysed the wood samples using microscopic techniques and identified eleven different species of fungi. “One of them, Exidiopsis effusa, colonised all of our hair-ice-producing wood, and in more than half of the samples, it was the only species present,” she says.

      Mätzler, on the other hand, performed experiments designed to better understand the physics of hair ice on samples he collected in a forest at Moosseedorf, Switzerland. He found, confirming guesses by other researchers, that the driving mechanism responsible for producing ice filaments at the wood surface is ice segregation. Liquid water near the branch surface freezes in contact with the cold air, creating an ice front and ‘sandwiching’ a thin water film between this ice and the wood pores. Suction resulting from repelling intermolecular forces acting at this ‘wood–water–ice sandwich’ then gets the water inside the wood pores to move towards the ice front, where it freezes and adds to the existing ice. “Since the freezing front is situated at the mouth of the wood rays, the shape of the growing ice is determined by the wood rays at their mouth,” says Mätzler.

      “The same amount of ice is produced on wood with or without fungal activity, but without this activity the ice forms a crust-like structure. The action of the fungus is to enable the ice to form thin hairs – with a diameter of about 0.01 mm – and to keep this shape over many hours at temperatures close to 0°C. Our hypothesis includes that the hairs are stabilised by a recrystallisation inhibitor that is provided by the fungus.”

      Hofmann then studied the hair ice itself. Her chemical analyses of the melted ice showed the water to contain fragments of the complex organic compounds lignin and tannin. Since these are metabolic products of the fungal activity, this finding further confirms the biological influence on hair ice. “These components may be the ones preventing the formation of large ice crystals at the wood surface,” says Hofmann.
      SEE for more information.

      Delete
  4. You've had some really interesting hair ice pictures over the years. I never see any. It just doesn't get cold enough here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Graham, it does require a sheltered forest environment. I have never seen it grow in temperatures this cold before.

      Delete
  5. Great photos of something I have never seen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John, it is far from common here. I wonder if air quality has anything to do with it.

      Delete
  6. heel mooi maar ik heb het hier nog niet gezien.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ik ken drie plaatsen in Schotland maar heb het nergens anders gezien.

      Delete
  7. Never seen that ! very beautful ! nature is magic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marty I always enjoy finding it.

      Delete