​​'Super Science with Drew': Watch water develop into colorful, mesmerizing crystals

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Thursday, January 13, 2022
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Ordinarily, water freezes too slowly to be appreciated--but not at the Exploratorium!

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Watch water transform into a spiky, kaleidoscope of crystals at this Exploratorium exhibit.

Typically, water freezes too slowly for us to appreciate its beauty. In the Watch Water Freeze exhibit, you can marvel at the colorful process which yields mesmerizing mosaics.

Charles Sowers is the exhibit developer behind the machine that allows us to see the effect.

"It freezes a thin layer of water on top of a sheet of glass and allows people to see that happen in real-time," said Sowers.

Polarized light and an ultra-cool slab allow water to crystallize rapidly in real-time. Chilled by coolant from below, the glass is so cold that when you squirt water on it, the water freezes into crystals.

"There's also a Polaroid filter underneath the ice," explained Sowers. "The light that comes through is polarized and interacts with these polarized filters, and that allows you to see the colors."

In addition, varying colors appear depending on thicknesses in the ice and tiny stresses that develop within the ice as the crystals form and collide.

Watch the video above to witness water freeze before your very eyes, and visit here for more information about the Exploratorium.