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Create 'Instant Ice' with News 2 Science Geeks

This easy experiment requires few ingredients and lets you create an ice sculpture instantly.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Welcome back to News 2 Science Geeks! 

It's a weekly segment that gives you some easy-to-do science experiments during this period of staying at home. Have fun, and let us know if you try this one out. This week we're going to make ice instantly by pouring cold water out of a bottle of water. 

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

  • Bottles of water
  • Ceramic or glass bowl
  • Ice cubes
  • Plastic tray or metal cookie sheet
  • Freezer

FOLLOW THESE STEPS:

  1. Take your water bottles and put them in the freezer for about 1.5 to 2 hours. For best results, lay them carefully on their side. Try not to dent the plastic.
  2. Remove the bottles before they start to freeze. If they're already partially frozen, you'll have to try again. 
  3. Place a bowl on your tray or cookie sheet. Place an ice cube or two on top. 
  4. Carefully open your almost frozen bottle, then pour *very slowly* onto the ice cube. If you're careful you'll see that it starts to freeze instantly  Continue as long as you'd like to make some ice sculptures!

.

WHY DID IT WORK?

The water that we put in the freeze actually already reached the freezing mark. In fact, it's likely "supercooled" meaning it's below 32 degrees. In order for water to turn into ice, it takes some time and energy to complete that phase change. 

Since we took the water out just before it was ready to freeze, we're helping it out by pouring it slowly onto some ice cubes. These ice cubes are already formed ice crystals, so when the freezing water hits it, more crystals form onto the existing ice crystals. This process is called nucleation. 

We hope you enjoyed this week’s experiment!

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