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Frost Barbs by Paige Rosemary Frankl

2nd Place - Natural Category

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School: Cherry Creek High School

Teacher: Whitney Mernitz

This image captures a rare frost formation on wires. When saturated air, also known as humidity, cools it becomes less able to hold water vapor. When this comes in contact with a surface whose temperature is below the freezing temperature of water and below the surfaces dew point, frost forms. The specific type of frost pictured is an example of advection frost which forms when a large mass of cold air moves into the surface and cools the surface to the temperature necessary for dew formation. The horizontal striped wire is electrified and also has more frost on it than the other horizontal wire. Since water molecules are polar and not uniformly charged, it is possible that the positively charged ends of the molecules were attracted to the negatively charged wire. It is also possible that the surface materials of the electric wire have a higher dew point than the iron, but it is most likely a combination of both electric field and dew point causing the crystals to form more drastically. The base of almost all of the ice crystals start on the right side of the wire. The area where this was photographed is known for its heavy wind which, in perspective of this picture, would blow left to right. Direction of the wind made the frost crystals unable to form a base without some form of shielding from the wind so the frost formed only where the wires could shield and support the crystals.

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