Visualization of hoar frost with confocal microscopy

John G. Georgiadis, Paul Greywall, Albert Tenbusch

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Hoar frost is frozen dew which is deposited on a cold surface exposed to humid air. Frost growth has a profound effect on the performance of an evaporator at freezer temperatures and engineers commonly oversize refrigeration systems to overcome the degradation of heat exchange owing to the presence of the frost layer. In an attempt to understand the behavior of frost, morphological information (at the near-micron range) is needed. We report here a high-resolution, video rate (30 frames per second) visualization of frost forming on a horizontal steel surface exposed to stagnant room air. Sub-micron resolution of the crystalline structure of frost is achieved by employing Scanning Confocal Microscopy. This technique obviates the difficulties with conventional microscopy and allows 3-D and time-resolved quantitative visualization of the frost morphology. Such studies bolster our understanding of several fundamental frost phenomena (during its early growth stage), such as the growth of ice crystals and their interaction with subcooled droplets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-175
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers, Heat Transfer Division, (Publication) HTD
StatePublished - 1994
EventProceedings of the 1994 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition - Chicago, IL, USA
Duration: Nov 6 1994Nov 11 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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