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Critical Opalescence

Critical Opalescence

Making the transition from confusion to comprehension, on all scales

As Ice Forms, It Can Create Amazing Spirals

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In our February issue, Scientific American had an article on the phenomenon of liquid-rope coiling–the way that viscous fluids curl as they fall onto a surface, forming what looks like a miniature basket. Dribbling honey onto toast is a classic example (not to mention a great way to liven up your breakfast with physics experiments). Now reader Brian Parker of Dartmouth, England, sends us these remarkable photographs of ice spirals, which appear to be a related phenomenon. The spirals emanate from holes near the top of hollow tube stanchions on a metal staircase at a sports field.

Photographs courtesy of Brian Parker

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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