Interfacial phenomena in snow from its formation to accumulation and shedding

Adv Colloid Interface Sci. 2021 Aug:294:102480. doi: 10.1016/j.cis.2021.102480. Epub 2021 Jul 1.


Snow accumulation alters the energy budget of engineered (i.e. photovoltaic panels) and natural surfaces (i.e. earth) by affecting the amount of solar energy these surfaces can absorb. Falling of accumulated snow from overhead structures (i.e. telecommunication towers, power lines, wind turbines, and bridge cables) and slipping pedestrians and vehicles on surfaces covered with snow and ice can lead to injuries and safety issues. This review article aimed to provide an overview of snow from its nucleation/formation fundamentals to its interaction with man-made and natural surfaces leading to its accumulation, followed by its removal via shedding and/or melting. Mechanical, thermal, and thermodynamics properties of snow were reviewed providing insights on their impact on snow interaction with surfaces. Finally, currently-available active and passive techniques to mitigate issues associated with snow accumulation on surfaces were reviewed, and perspectives on challenges ahead were provided.

Keywords: Nucleation/formation; Passive snow removal; Snow accumulation; Snow adhesion; Snow crystal; Snow melting; Snow mitigation; Snow properties; Snow shedding.

Publication types

  • Review