The presence of liquid water in frozen media impacts the strength of soils, the growth of frost heave, plant life and microbial activities, or the durability of infrastructures in cold regions. If the effect of confinement on freezing is well known, water is never pure and solutes depressing the freezing point are naturally found. Moreover, the combination of confinement and solute is poorly understood. We imaged the freezing dynamics of water in a model porous medium with various salt (KCl) concentrations. We showed that the freezing front, initially heterogeneous due to confinement, drives salt enrichment in the remaining liquid, further depressing its freezing point. Confinement and solute have a synergistic effect that results in much larger mushy layers and greater freezing point depression. These results should help understand the distribution of water in frozen porous media, solute precipitation and redistribution in soils, and cryo-tolerance of construction materials and organisms.
- Pub Date:
- July 2019
- Condensed Matter - Soft Condensed Matter;
- Condensed Matter - Mesoscale and Nanoscale Physics;
- Condensed Matter - Materials Science;
- Physics - Geophysics
- 10 pages, 2 figures, 23 references