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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

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Ice - Plant
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(a word common to Teutonic languages; cf. Ger. Eis), the solid crystalline form which water assumes when exposed to a sufficiently low temperature. It is a colourless crystalline substance, assuming forms belonging to the hexagonal system, and distinguished by a well-marked habit of twinning, which occasions the beautiful "ice flowers" displayed by hoar-frost. It is frequently precipitated as hoar-frost, snow or hail; and in the glaciers and snows of lofty mountain systems or of regions of high latitude it exists on a gigantic scale, being especially characteristic of the seas and lands around the poles. In various regions, especially in France and Italy, great quantities of ice form in caves, which, in virtue of their depth below the earth's surface, their height above the sea-level, or their exposure to suitable winds, or to two or more of these conditions in combination, are unaffected by ordinary climatic changes, so that the mean annual temperature is sufficiently low to ensure the permanency of the ice. The temperature at which water freezes, and also at which ice melts, is so readily determined that it is employed as one of-the standard temperatures in the graduation of ordinary thermometer scales, this temperature being the zero of the Centigrade and Reaumur scales, and 32° of the Fahrenheit (see Thermometry). In the act of freezing, water, though its temperature remains unchanged, undergoes a remarkable expansion so that ice at o° C. is less dense than water - a fact demonstrated by its power of floating. The sub-aqueous retention of "ground-ice" or "anchor-ice," which forms in certain circumstances at the bottom of streams or pools in which there are many eddies, is due to the cohesion between it and the stones or rocks which compose the bed of the streams or pools. As water expands on freezing, so conversely ice contracts on melting; and the ice-cold water thus formed continues to contract when heated until it has reached its point of maximum density, the temperature at which this occurs being about 39° Fahr. or 4° C. Above this point water continuously expands, and at no temperature is it less dense than ice as is shown by the following table: - Density of ice at o°C. = 9175 „ water at o°C. = 99988 4°C. = 1.00000 Io °C. _ 99976 Ioo°C. _ 95866 Under the influence of heat, ice itself behaves as most solids do, contracting when cooled, expanding when heated. According to Plucker, the coefficient of cubical dilatation at moderately low temperatures is 0.0001585. From a series of elaborate experiments, Person deduced o505 as the specific heat of ice, or about half that of water.

Though no rise of temperature accompanies the melting of ice, there is yet a definite quantity of heat absorbed, namely, about 80 calories per gram; this is called the latent heat of fusion of water (see FusloN). The same amount of heat is evolved when water becomes ice. That ice can be melted by increase of pressure was first pointed out by James Thomson in 1849. He showed that, since water expands on freezing, the laws of thermodynamics require that its freezing-point must be lowered by increase of pressure; and he calculated that for every additional atmosphere of pressure the freezingpoint of water was lowered by 0.0075°. This result was verified by his brother, Sir William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), in 1850. The Thomsons and H. L. F. Helmholtz successfully applied this behaviour of ice under pressure to the explanation of many properties of the substance. When two blocks of ice at 0° C. are pressed together or even simply laid in contact, they gradually unite along their touching surfaces till they form one block. This "regelation" is due to the increased pressure at the various points of contact causing the ice there to melt and cool. The water so formed tends to escape, thus relieving the pressure for an instant, refreezing and returning to the original temperature. This succession of melting and freezing, with their accompanying thermal effects, goes on until the two blocks are cemented into one.

Ice forms over fresh water if the temperature of the air has been for a sufficient time at or below the freezing-point; but not until the whole mass of water has been cooled down to its point of maximum density, so that the subsequent cooling of the surface can give rise to no convection currents, is freezing possible. Sea-water, in the most favourable circumstances, does not freeze till its temperature is reduced to about - 2° C.; and the ice, when formed, is found to have rejected four-fifths of the salt which was originally present. In the upper provinces of India water is made to freeze during cold clear nights by leaving it overnight in porous vessels, or in bottles which are enwrapped in moistened cloth. The water then freezes in virtue of the cold produced by its own evaporation or by the drying of the moistened wrapper. In Bengal the natives resort to a still more elaborate forcing of the conditions. Pits are dug about 2 ft. deep and filled three-quarters full with dry straw, on which are set flat porous pans containing the water to be frozen. Exposed overnight to a cool dry gentle wind from the north-west, the water evaporates at the expense of its own heat, and the consequent cooling takes place with sufficient rapidity to overbalance the slow influx of heat from above through the cooled dense air or from below through the badly conducting straw.

See Water, and for the manufacture of ice see Refrigerating.

Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Ice'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​bri/​i/ice.html. 1910.
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