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Freezing a rivulet

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We investigate experimentally the formation of the particular ice structure obtained when a capillary trickle of water flows on a cold substrate. We show that after a few minutes the water ends up flow-ing on a tiny ice wall whose shape is permanent. We characterize and understand quantitatively the formation dynamics and the final thickness of this ice structure. In particular, we identify two growth regimes. First, a 1D solidification diffusive regime, where ice is building independently of the flowing water. And second, once the ice is thick enough, the heat flux in the water comes into play, breaking the 1D symmetry of the problem, and the ice ends up thickening linearly downward. This linear pattern is explained by considering the competition between the water cooling and its convection.

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