Incredible moment ‘supercooled’ bottles of water that DIDN’T freeze in -8F Alaskan winter turn instantly to ICE when they’re banged on a table thanks to a quirk of thermodynamics
- Water normally turns to ice at 0°C but the bottles were exposed to -8°F (-22°C)
- A liquid can remain fluid below its freezing point if it is pure and cooled slowly
- This is called ‘supercooling’ and can be undone by firmly hitting the water or putting in an ice cube
Incredible footage has emerged of liquid water turning into solid ice in the blink of an eye.
Roderick Koop, from Anchor Point, Alaska, found two bottles of water in his loft that had not frozen – despite temperatures plunging to lows of -8°F (-22°C).
That’s because liquids can remain fluid below their freezing temperatures – a process known as ‘supercooling’.
This only works if the liquids are completely pure and free of impurities, like dust, and are then cooled slowly and left untouched.
Under these conditions they lack the energy needed to start the process that causes ice crystals to form.
When the contents of the bottles are disturbed, the shock wave created gives the water inside the energy needed to kick start that reaction.
The result is that when Mr Koop picked up the bottle and smacked it off the solid table, he found that the liquid inside froze instantly before him.
Having stumbled across the remarkable effect, the Alaskan native, 60, decided to see if the same thing would happen with the second bottle.
After reaching for his camera he smacked the bottle and watched the ice form.
About the experience, he said: ‘I have never seen anything like this before. It was -8°F (-22°C), so I thought it was odd that the water hadn’t frozen over yet
‘I figured there had to be a scientific explanation. I had no idea what the heck I had just witnessed when the bottle fell and thought, “what just happened?”
‘It was fun to see and I’ve really enjoyed sharing it with others too.’
Incredible footage has emerged of liquid water turning into solid ice in the blink of an eye (right). Roderick Koop, from Anchor Point, Alaska, found two bottles of water in his loft that had not frozen – despite temperatures plunging to lows of -8°F (-22°C).
The incredible effect is the result of a process called supercooling, which lets water remain liquid below its freezing point under specific conditions.
The freezing point of water is 0°C (-32°F). This means that water will normally change from a liquid to a solid as it is cooled to 0°C.
However, if the water is pure enough and if it is cooled slowly enough, the water can stay a liquid even when it is colder than 0°C.
Supercooled water does not turn into ice because it is too pure for ice crystals to form.
Ice crystals require something on which to grow in order to form. Crystals can grow on specks of dust, impurities in the water or on ice itself.