Cutting ice : nanowire regelation

T. Hynninen, V. Heinonen, C.L. Dias, M.E.J. Karttunen, A.S. Foster, T. Ala-Nissila

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Even below its normal melting temperature, ice melts when subjected to high pressure and refreezes once the pressure is lifted. A classic demonstration of this regelation phenomenon is the passing of a thin wire through a block of ice when sufficient force is exerted. Here we present a molecular-dynamics study of a nanowire cutting through ice to unravel the molecular level mechanisms responsible for regelation. In particular, we show that the transition from a stationary to a moving wire due to increased driving force changes from symmetric and continuous to asymmetric and discontinuous as a hydrophilic wire is replaced by a hydrophobic one. This is explained at the molecular level in terms of the wetting properties of the wire.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)0861012/1-4
    JournalPhysical Review Letters
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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