How does Frost on Windows actually 'work'?

vermontlove(4)January 24, 2014

I have been enjoying a wondrous display of frost 'paintings' on my windows lately here in Vermont. But this morning I awoke to a very unusual one and want to ask how this may have occurred.
There is a heart on my entryway window, about a foot high. How can frost create the outline of a heart without divine intervention (not that Nature is not divine in itsself...) but this is unusual.
Can frost be affected by what was already on the window (which I cleaned when I moved in here 2 months ago...) I am thinking somebody drew a heart with a finger and no one could see it til the frost came along.
Would love to be educated on this.

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If there was a heart on the window that you removed when you moved in it may be that some residue of what was used to attach it was left behind or that space can't collect moisture.

Frost is formed by warm moist air collecting on a cold surface. The moisture in the air then freezes creating frost

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:54PM
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The slower the frost forms, the more intricate the crystal structure becomes.

As the very still layer of air over the glass is cooled by the glass, water vapour desublimates out of the 100% humidity air directly onto the crystal formation (rather than randomly onto the glass). It is a slow process because the air is very still and it takes time for fresh 'moist' air to migrate to the glass and continue the process.

The base for the whole frost structure usually originates from dirt or some other residual on the glass (fingerprints, ahdesives, etc.) and it grows from there.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 12:06PM
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