How Do Scientists Study Snowflakes?

You probably have seen pictures of snowflakes, and heard that no two flakes are the same.

Have you ever wondered how scientists examine snowflakes? After all, most flakes are only a fraction of an inch across, and melt as soon as a person touches them.

Since 1940, scientists have had a clever way to study the structure of snowflakes, even if they can’t always study the flakes themselves. They spread a chemical compound over a glass plate and let a snowflake land there.

The compound immediately covers the flake and hardens. When the flake melts, it leaves behind a plastic case that shows its exact structure!