In this study, we utilized simulated icing experiments to investigate the effect of icing thickness, freezing temperature and initial concentration on the migration of iron in the ice–water system during water icing. The distribution coefficient “K” (the ratio of the average concentration of iron in the ice to that in the under-ice water) was used to describe the effect. The results indicated that iron partitioned stronger to under-ice water than to ice during the process of water icing, resulting in the concentration of iron in ice–water system before and after freezing being expressed as: ice < pre-freezing water < under-ice water. K decreased with the increase in icing thickness, freezing temperature and initial concentration. The temperature change in the solution will change the solubility of the solvent, so we explained the migration of iron during the process of water icing from the perspective of solid–liquid equilibrium theory. Too high or too low iron concentration may inhibit the growth of algae, thus affecting the underwater ecological environment. We expect that our study will arouse researcher’s attention to the change in iron concentration in shallow lakes and ponds at high latitudes during the icebound period.
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