How Custom Snowflakes Are Grown in a Lab

Derek Muller of Veritasium consulted with Dr. Ken Libbrech to learn how he designs custom snowflakes in his lab. Libbrech explains that snowflakes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. So far he’s detected 108 examples. Libbrech also explains how snowflakes are formed, depending on the temperature, humidity, position, and facet.

So after 85 years, maybe we now understand the molecular physics of ice well enough to finally explain why snowflakes grow into such a diverse collection of columnar and plate-like forms.

Libbrech is able to recreate these conditions in his lab and examples of his work have been used in books and films.

Dr Ken Libbrecht is the world expert on snowflakes, designer of custom snowflakes, snowflake consultant for the movie Frozen – his photos appear on postage stamps all over the world.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.