Solidification of a disk-shaped crystal from a weakly supercooled binary melt

David W. Rees Jones, Andrew J. Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The physics of ice crystal growth from the liquid phase, especially in the presence of salt, has received much less attention than the growth of snow crystals from the vapor phase. The growth of so-called frazil ice by solidification of a supercooled aqueous salt solution is consistent with crystal growth in the basal plane being limited by the diffusive removal of the latent heat of solidification from the solid-liquid interface, while being limited by attachment kinetics in the perpendicular direction. This leads to the formation of approximately disk-shaped crystals with a low aspect ratio of thickness compared to radius, because radial growth is much faster than axial growth. We calculate numerically how fast disk-shaped crystals grow in both pure and binary melts, accounting for the comparatively slow axial growth, the effect of dissolved solute in the fluid phase, and the difference in thermal properties between solid and fluid phases. We identify the main physical mechanisms that control crystal growth and show that the diffusive removal of both the latent heat released and the salt rejected at the growing interface are significant. Our calculations demonstrate that certain previous parametrizations, based on scaling arguments, substantially underestimate crystal growth rates by a factor of order 10-100 for low aspect ratio disks, and we provide a parametrization for use in models of ice crystal growth in environmental settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number022406
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2015


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