You are here:

Physics/frequency to break ice


Hi,  As a follow up it was stated that ice cannot break with sound waves because it does not resonate at a specific frequency.  It may have several frequencies.  If a device existed that could generate four or five individuals frequencies and pass over the ice would it be possible to break the ice then?

Trying to generate a resonant frequency for ice would depend on the geometry of the piece of ice one is attempting to break.  That means that you'd have to be able to tune the frequency continuously.  The power requirements for such a device would be prohibitive indeed.  You're probably best off trying something in the ultrasonic range that could actually heat the ice up.  Steam might crack it from the inside or simply cut it.  It would still be very dangerous to operate, no matter what kind of sound you wanted to use.  Does this have a purpose, like de-icing objects or breaking up something frozen inside a system?  The ultimate purpose of the device will have a great deal to do with any approach to designing it.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]