Cutting ice: Nanowire regelation

Teemu Hynninen, Vili Heinonen, Cristiano L. Dias, Mikko Karttunen, Adam S. Foster, Tapio Ala-Nissila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Even below its normal melting temperature, ice melts when subjected to high pressure and refreezes once the pressure is lifted. A classic demonstration of this regelation phenomenon is the passing of a thin wire through a block of ice when sufficient force is exerted. Here we present a molecular-dynamics study of a nanowire cutting through ice to unravel the molecular level mechanisms responsible for regelation. In particular, we show that the transition from a stationary to a moving wire due to increased driving force changes from symmetric and continuous to asymmetric and discontinuous as a hydrophilic wire is replaced by a hydrophobic one. This is explained at the molecular level in terms of the wetting properties of the wire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number086102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 19 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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