is the hexagonal crystal form of ordinary ice
, or frozen water
. Virtually all ice in the biosphere
is ice Ih
, with the exception only of a small amount of ice Ic
which is occasionally present in the upper atmosphere. Ice Ih
exhibits many peculiar properties which are relevant to the existence of life and regulation of global climate.
Ice Ih is stable down to and can exist at pressures up to 0.2 GPa. The crystal structure is characterized by hexagonal symmetry and near tetrahedral bonding angles.
has a density
less than liquid water
, of 0.917 g/cm³, due
to the extremely low density of its crystal lattice. The density of ice Ih
increases with decreasing temperature (density of ice at -180 °C is 0.9340 g/cm³).
The latent heat of melting is 5987 J/mol, and its latent heat of sublimation is 50911 J/mol.
The high latent heat of sublimation is principally indicative of the strength of
the hydrogen bonds in the crystal lattice. The latent heat
of melting is much smaller partly because water near 0 °C is very strongly
The refractive index of ice Ih is 1.31.
The accepted crystal structure
of ordinary ice was first proposed by Linus Pauling
in 1935. The structure of ice Ih
is roughly one of crinkled planes composed of tessellating
hexagonal rings, with an oxygen
atom on each vertex, and the edges of the rings formed by hydrogen bonds
. The planes alternate in an ABAB pattern, with B planes being reflections of the A planes along the same axes as the planes themselves. The distance between oxygen atoms along each bond is about 275 pm
and is the same between any two bonded oxygen atoms in the lattice. The angle between bonds in the crystal lattice is very close to the tetrahedral
angle of 109.5° which is also quite close to the angle between hydrogen atoms in the water molecule (in the gas phase), which is 105°. This tetrahedral bonding angle of the water molecule essentially accounts for the unusually low density of the crystal lattice -- it is beneficial for the lattice to be arranged with tetrahedral angles even though there is an energy penalty in the increased volume of the crystal lattice. As a result, the large hexagonal rings leave almost enough room for another water molecule to exist inside. This gives naturally occurring ice its unique property of being less dense than its liquid form. The tetrahedral-angled hydrogen-bonded hexagonal rings are also the mechanism which causes liquid water to be most dense at 4 °C. Close to 0 °C, tiny hexagonal ice Ih
-like lattices form in liquid water, with greater frequency closer to 0 °C. This effect decreases the density of the water, causing it to be most dense at 4 °C when the structures form infrequently.
atoms) in the crystal lattice lie very nearly along the
hydrogen bonds, and in such a way that each water molecule is preserved. This
means that each oxygen atom in the lattice has two protons adjacent to it, and
about 101 pm along the 275 pm length of the bond. The crystal
lattice allows a substantial amount of disorder in the positions of the protons
frozen into the structure as it cools to absolute zero. As a result,
the crystal structure contains some residual entropy
inherent to the
lattice and determined by the number of possible configurations of proton
positions which can be formed while still maintaining the requirement for each oxygen atom to have
only two protons in closest proximity, and each H-bond joining two oxygen atoms having
only one proton. This residual entropy S0
is equal to 3.5 J mol−1
. There are various ways of approximating
this number from first principles. Assuming a given N
molecules each has 6 possible arrangements this yields 6N
combinations. Given random orientations of molecules, a given bond will have
only a ½ chance that it has exactly one proton, or in other words, each
molecule has a ¼ chance that its protons lie on bonds containing exactly one
proton, leaving a total number of
possible valid combinations.
Using Boltzmann's principle
, we find that
is Boltzmann's Constant
, which yields a value of 3.37 J mol−1
, a value very close to the measured value. More complex
methods can be employed to better approximate the exact number of possible
configurations, and achieve results closer to measured values.
By contrast, the structure of ice II is very proton-ordered, which helps to explain the entropy change of 3.22 J/mol when the crystal structure changes to that of ice II. Also, ice XI, an orthorhombic, proton-ordered form of ice Ih, is considered the most stable form.
- N. H. Fletcher, The Chemical Physics of Ice, Cambridge UP (1970) ISBN 0-521-07597-1
- Victor F. Petrenko and Robert W. Whitworth, Physics of Ice, Oxford UP (1999) ISBN 0-19-851894-3
- Chaplin, Martin Hexagonal ice structure. Water Structure and Science. Retrieved on 2008-01-02..