Friday 30 November 2012

3D Printed Ice Structure

If you're local to me, you will have noticed it rained a lot earlier in the week. And that it was very cold last night.

Well. It appears somebody didn't cover up the sandpit.

While amusing, this is not what this post is about though.

This is:

This ice structure is poking out of another outdoor toy that wasn't covered up.

How did this happen?

It looks like a triangular shaped ice tube. It may not be too clear from the pictures, but the walls of the structure are made of ice and the inside is liquid water.

I imagine that due to the temperature the water under the ice needs space to expand and pushes up through what must have been the last small opening. Each time the water pushes a bit higher the edges freeze, constructing the walls layer by layer - a bit like a 3D printer might do it. Whether this is actually what happened I don't know.

To check that it was actually ice, I tapped against one of the walls and it came crumbling down, spilling some of the liquid it was holding back.

[UPDATE 30/11/2012 17:16 GMT]

Apparently, this is called an ice spike and they don't happen often in "non-distilled" water - making me feel all warm and fuzzy that I found one in our garden.