Frost nucleation and spreading on solid surfaces is a common process which is very much of interest and often concern in everyday life. While this process is difficult to quantify on unstructured surfaces, growth of frost on microstructured surfaces is easier to quantify and model. Recent works have considered frosting on such surfaces experimentally. One novel finding is that there are different regimes of frost growth, characterized by surface temperature and the amount of humidity. In particular, for an intermediate humidity regime, frost growth appears to be fractal. The NJIT component of the project focusses on formulating an appropriate model for frost growth, and on using such a model to set up Monte-Carlo simulations of frost spreading. The ultimate goal is to formulate a model that would allow to understand a transition between different regimes and to check whether the fractal-like patterns observed in experiments are indeed fractal and if so, to find their fractal dimension. Figure shows an example of Monte-Carlo simulations of frost growth.
We thank to Prof. Doris Vollmer from MPI for Polymer Research, Mainz, Germany, for bringing this problem to our attention, and to Lukas Hauer from the same institution for helping supervise the student project at NJIT.