The incredible shrinking ice cubes

I fill the ice cube trays with water, place them in the freezer, and pretty much forget about them. A couple of months later, the ice cubes, which once were large enough to be joined to one another at the top, have now sunk down into their individual compartments. Some have almost completely disappeared. What’s up with this? Are they evaporating in sub-freezing temperatures? Or is this glacial drift at work?

Just wondering.

Probably. That process is called sublimation.

I read an article about that some time ago. It seems that modern “No Frost” refrigerators have heating elements to prevent ice forming on the inside. These heating elements are also responsible for making the ice cubes go to gaseous state from solid, withoug going to an intermediate liquid state (I don’t remember the word, I am sure it’s not “evaporate” though)

I had this happen in an old refrigerator of mine, as nobody ever used the ice. It started shrinking and smelling really foul, and eventually something (I assume some sort of mold) started growing on it. By the time I moved out, all the ice was gone and there was nothing left but some yellowish-brown sludge at the bottom of the ice bucket thingy.

Sublimation! That’s what I meant!

Okay, so they essentially are vaporizing, though the process is slightly different from standard evaporation.

So much for my glacial drift theory.

Thanks for the responses!