Name: Judith D.
Date: August 2002
How are icicles formed?
This has been asked before, and the answer IS NOT SIMPLE. For example if
you examine icicles hanging from a roof they are geometrically similar -- in
the sense of similar triangles -- the apex angle is about 15 degrees whether
the icicle is 10 cm long or 100 cm long. The actual mechanism is a rather
complicated heat transfer problem.
If you do a web search (use: www.google.com) on the term "icicles" or
"icicle formation" you will see a lot of discussion about the mechanism. It
is not an academic problem on ships etc. in the arctic and antarctic.
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Update: June 2012