Every snowflake floated in mid-air for a long time before landing. During this long journey, they will pass by thousands of snowflakes. It is said that there are no two identical snowflakes in the world. But is that really the case? Simply put: Yes, every snowflake is different. You may find some very similar snowflakes when they are just beginning to form, but when the snowflakes are fully formed, each piece has a different structure, although some are only very subtle in angles.
Why is every snowflake so unique? The answer is related to water vapor, temperature, and probability.
To understand why snowflakes are so unique in shape, you must understand how they were formed in the first place. First, water evaporating from oceans, rivers and lakes enters the atmosphere in the form of water vapor, forming the clouds we see. In summer, these clouds will float slowly through the air, sending pieces of shade to the ground. But in winter, things are different. Cold air cools the water vapor molecules into tiny droplets that condense on surrounding particles, such as pollen or dust. These tiny ice crystals, like “baby” snowflakes, will soon take shape.
These ice crystals float in the air, colliding with water vapor molecules. Once water vapor comes into contact with ice crystals, it changes directly from gaseous to solid crystals, attached to the original snowflake core. This process occurs repeatedly, causing snowflakes to grow from a small, almost invisible core to a molded snowflake. In the right conditions, the snowflakewill will fall to the ground.
But even if you know all this, it’s hard to believe that there are no two identical snowflakes in the world. But when you read the following, you will understand that the formation of snowflakes can fully guarantee their own unique.
Although many snowflakes may look similar when they are stacked together, if you separate them, you can see that each snowflake has its own characteristics.
When ice crystals first gathered and formed snowflakes, they all looked very similar in shape. This is mainly because the combination of hydrogen and oxygen atoms in water molecules results in the lattice of ice crystals usually hexagonal. And in these six sides, there may be some crooked twists. Compared with smooth and consistent parts, uneven areas are more likely to attract water molecules to condense and gradually grow several branches. On each branch, more of the same structure is formed, eventually turning into a delicate, perfectly symmetrical snowflake.
If snowflakes stop growing after the first few steps, we’ll find more extremely short-skinned snowflakes. But snowflakes continue to attract more and more crystals, expanding out layer after layer, eventually forming a unique pattern.
As the ice crystals continue to gather, other “guests” will join the grand gathering. These “guests” refer mainly to environmental factors, especially humidity and temperature. These two are key factors in determining whether snowflakes will get bigger or fall apart.
Temperature plays an important role in the formation and structure of ice crystals. Between minus 2.8 and 0 degrees Celsius, ice crystals appear as flaky or prisms, which are typical hexagonal snowflake structures, but less interest in it.
If the temperature drops a few more degrees, the ice crystal sits in a needle shape. And if you lower it a few degrees, the newly grown ice crystals will become hollow columns. In the bitter cold, snowflakes become stars with countless branches.
The effect of humidity on snowflakes is not to be underestimated. In low humidity, the formation of snowflake shape is often flat. When the humidity is high, more ice crystals will gather at the corners of the snowflakes.
A snowflake may contain as many as 10 of the 18 thiful water molecules.
In a cold environment, you only need to add a little more humidity to create amazing snowflakes. Their structure is clever, like art that descends from heaven.
The overall shape of snowflakes is also very different. Some are very small, like white sugar, while others are superimposed layer after layer to form a huge snowflake. For example, a snow ymme that landed in Montana, USA, in 1887 was 38 centimeters in diameter, setting a world record.
Physical factors and weather conditions determine the shape and size of snowflakes. Mathematics determines that every snowflake is unique.
Each snowflake is made up of a large number of water molecules. It is estimated that a snowflake contains as many as 10 water molecules. Because many more branches appear on each branch of the snowflake, other crystals may join them in a variety of ways. Some scientists say the number of possible combinations of crystals on snowflakes is twice the number of crystals formed by all atoms in the universe.
These figures are too large to go far beyond our understanding. But if the above mathematical calculations are true, it is not possible to have two identical snowflakes in the past, present or future.
In addition, there are a variety of factors that affect the formation of snowflakes. Even a slight fluctuation in temperature and humidity can change the structure of the crystal. Foreign objects such as dust may also change the shape of crystals. In addition, the angle at which water molecules collide with the nucleus that has been formed is critical.
In the atmosphere that is surging above the surface, all variables are rapidly changing. Even within touching distance, the situation can be very different, and the effects of these factors on crystals and snowflakes are far from measurable.
Snowflakes in the air circling, floating in the process, will continue to collide with other snowflakes. Some branches may be broken, but new ones will soon be developed, adding to the uniqueness of each snowflake.
All in all, every snowflake is unique. Their slimness and fleetingness are a testament to how wonderful and fascinating and rapidly the world and universe we live in.