Guadarrama-Cetina J, Mongruel A, González-Viñas W, Beysens DA. Percolation-induced frost formation. EPL (Europhysics Letters)2013;101(1): 16009.
We report the observation of an unconventional mechanism for frost formation. On a smooth hydrophobic surface cooled much below the water freezing temperature (−9 °C), we find that, instead of the classical freezing of individual supercooled condensed droplets, frost can occur through a multi-step 2-dimensional percolation-driven mechanism. This in-plane propagation process provides a model to investigate more complex bulk phase transformations such as those occurring in atmospheric supercooled clouds. It can also lead to a new method to control and design in-plane solidification at a nanoscale level.