The Formation of Snow Crystals
Team #34 From The Down To Earth School
My project is about how snow crystals form through the branching process.
The branching process creates snow crystals that most people think of when they think of snow. These crystals are called dendrites. They are a hexagonal base frozen around a dust or pollen particle with branches extending out of each of the corners of the hexagon. The branching process starts with a simple dust or pollen particle in the atmosphere, then the water molecules in a gaseous state freezes onto the particle and start forming the hexagonal base. Once the hexagon base is created the water molecules freeze onto the corners and begin to make the branches. Then the branches may have smaller branches extending out of each branch called side branches. There many types of crystals. These crystals are formed depending on mainly two variables: supersaturation and atmospheric temperature. Supersaturation is the number of grams of water molecules in one cubic meter. There can be between 0 and 3.333 * 10²² water molecules per gram per cubic meter. To form snow crystals there is between 0 and 1 * 10²³ water molecules or 0 to 0.3 grams in a cubic meter in the atmosphere. The equation used to find these numbers was solved using Avogadro's number.