Q:

Why do snowflakes have six sides?

A:

Quick Answer

The six-sided shape of snowflakes is caused by the way water molecules bond with each other in cold temperatures. The water molecules attract each other so that they form a type of hexagon shape. When they hit a certain temperature, they expand and make a larger hexagon shape.

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Full Answer

The difference in each snowflake's appearance is related to the temperature and air flow as the flake is created. The difference in temperature can cause some parts of the flake to melt or form in different patterns. No matter what form the flakes take in their smaller details, the overall shape always turns out six-sided because the bonding style does not change.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the types of snowflakes?

    A:

    Scientists classify snowflakes into many different categories: simple prisms, stellar plates, stellar dendrites, fernlike stellar dendrites, capped columns, double plates, 12-sided snowflakes and rimed crystals. Despite the fact that all of the flakes form a hexagonal shape, none of them appear to be exactly the same. Classifying snowflakes is a difficult task. Classifications of snowflakes have ranged from six types to 35 types.

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  • Q:

    How do you cut a snowflake?

    A:

    You can cut paper snowflakes into an endless number of designs by folding paper and cutting notches around the edges. Make holiday snowflakes with plain office paper, construction paper, card stock or designer paper. You need a pair of scissors and, if desired, glitter, sequins or other decorations.

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  • Q:

    What causes it to snow?

    A:

    Snow occurs when water droplets in clouds freeze, and these droplets then act as a nucleus onto which molecules of water vapor adhere, forming larger ice crystals. Once the growing snowflake is too heavy for the movement of air in the clouds to support, it falls to the ground. Snow can form in any clouds that are below freezing temperature but only does so under the right conditions.

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  • Q:

    Why are blizzards dangerous?

    A:

    Blizzards are dangerous because of freezing temperatures that are exacerbated by high wind, difficulties getting through heavy snow and the possibility of getting lost in blinding flurries. A person caught outside in a blizzard needs to seek shelter immediately.

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