AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers

High School Photo Contest Logo

 

High School Photo Winner's Showcase

« 2010 Winners Gallery

The Life of a Snowflake by Amanda Boone

Honorable - Natural Category

« Previous | Next »

« Previous | Next »

School: Viewpoint School

Teacher: Mrs. Nancy Argano-Rush

Snowflakes form when water vapor condenses on a dust particle or sulfuric acid. The water vapor must condense directly into ice, which happens in snow clouds. Clouds also cause the water vapor to diffuse into the air and travel more slowly to the dust particle or sulfuric acid, allowing it to grow gradually with each molecule of water vapor and not with one big drop of water. As the water condenses into ice it forms hexagonal prisms. Along uneven surfaces or edges more water vapor condenses into ice causing branches to form around the hexagonal prism on the imperfections in the first molecule. These bumps then become even better places for water vapor to condense into ice causing the branches to grow and branch off. Snowflakes have many different shapes due to the different temperatures at which the water vapor condenses into ice.

« Return to 2010 winners gallery