Molecular dynamics simulations of ice growth from supercooled water

M. A. Carignano, P. B. Shepson, I. Szleifer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


The kinetics of ice growth on the secondary prismatic plane {1210} and the basal plane {0001} is studied by Molecular Dynamics simulations. The simulation system initially consists of a slab of ice in contact with a layer of water on one side, and vacuum on the other side. The remaining surface of the water layer is also facing vacuum. The time evolution of the system shows the crystallization of the liquid water and the evaporation of very few molecules at the free surfaces. The ice vapour interfaces are wet on both sides by identical thin layers of liquid water, strongly suggesting that the system has reached its equilibrium state. To analyse the results, we have developed a new method to discriminate whether a molecule belongs to the ice lattice or is in liquid state. Using this method to monitor the number of ice molecules as a function of time, we find that the freezing is much faster on the prismatic plane than on the basal plane. For the prismatic plane, irregularities in the surface of the solid phase are observed during the growing period contrasting with a smooth interface on the basal plane at all times. We studied three different temperatures and found that the rate of crystallization decreases with temperature for the prismatic plane, while no conclusive behaviour was found for the basal plane growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2957-2967
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Physics
Issue number21-23 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Nov 1 2005


  • Ice growth
  • Molecular dynamics simulations
  • Supercooled water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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