Ice is stiff and brittle — if you bend it, it will snap in two. Right? Not quite. Researchers just found that when grown in tiny strands, ice can defy its reputation for breakability, becoming so elastic it can even bend into a loop, according to a new study.
These ice microfibers are so bendy that they are near the theoretical limit for ice elasticity. Perhaps even cooler, the scientists who grew the bendy ice think that their teensy ice strands could lead to both an avalanche of new ways to better understand ice in its natural state and more efficient technology for transmitting light.
In theory, ice in the real world could be just as bendy as the researchers’ ice, but defects such as cracks and misalignments of crystals makes naturally occurring ice far more brittle.