A supercool experiment
How can you turn water into ice in a single instant?
Warning! Only under adult supervision
- plastic bottle;
- frozen grapes;
Fill a plastic bottle with water and leave it in the freezer for 3 hours to obtain supercooled water. If the water freezes, try again, decreasing the cooling time. When the cooling time is up, hit the bottle against a table – the water inside freezes instantly! Pour some water into a plate and put the plate into the freezer until the water is completely frozen. Take the plate out of the freezer and pour some supercooled water over it. An icy stalagmite starts growing! If a grape is lowered into the supercooled water, it emerges covered with fluffy ice crystals.
Liquid that has cooled down to a temperature below its freezing point is referred to as “supercooled.” The liquid’s state is rather unstable, so any outer impact (like hitting it against a table, or putting a grape into it) causes it to freeze. These outer impacts result in the formation of crystallization nuclei – seed crystals (of ice, in our case), which give rise to bigger crystals, and the water freezes with stunning rapidity.
Perform more supercool and safe experiments with MEL Science!