Correct Answer: Color of Ice

  • Author: ChemViews Magazine
  • Published: 11 December 2015
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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Congratulations! Your answer is correct.

Ice shows the strongest absorbtion for light in the red part of the visible spectrum. The complementary color, blue, is seen, but is only apparent through iceblocks of several meters and when bubbles do not interfere with the passage of the light.

The crystal structure of ice is strongly affected by hydrogen bonding. Visible light leads to an overtone of an OH bond stretch. This is essential for the selective absorbtion in the red part of the visual spectrum.

The absorption spectrum of water is similar to that of ice, except that hydrogen bonding in ice causes all water peaks to shift to a lower energy making the color greener.

From the surface, ice and snow look white, because almost all of the visible light striking the surface is reflected back.

For more information on ice see:


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Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH