Saturday, June 23, 2012


The hot water freezes faster than cold water. This means that the hot water's temperature is more likely to cool to temperatures below zero degrees Celsius. In the cold non-supercooled water, ice crystals form and float to the top, forming a sheet of ice over the top of the water, creating an insulating layer between the cooler air ...and the water. This ice sheet also stops evaporation. In the hot water that has become supercooled (thus, no longer hot) the water, when it does freeze, freezes throughout, creating more or less of a slush before freezing solid.

Why is hot water more likely to be supercooled? Because hot water is less likely to contain tiny gas bubbles. Gas bubbles form from dissolved gasses as the water cools. When the hot water was heated, these dissolved gasses may have been driven out. In cold water, ice crystals use the tiny bubbles as starting points for formation (in physics, we call them nucleation points). But in the hot water, there are no bubbles, so there aren't as many starting points for the ice crystals.

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