The video above is not camera magic – I actually poured a bottle of water into a room-temperature glass and watched it instantly turn into ice. I stumbled upon this phenomenon when I was experimenting with the optimal temperature at which to serve Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Long ago, I modified the freezer in my basement to maintain precise temperature control using a PID controller. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sampling cans of PBR at different temperatures. Incidentally, I have concluded that PBR is best served right around –8.5C. At that temperature, the beer is still liquid, but has a small amount of ice crystal formation (which is just delightful). I just happened to have some small bottles of Arrowhead water in the freezer and I noticed that a few of the bottles remained liquid while others were already frozen solid. I wondered if these bottles might be supercooled: chilled beyond their freezing point but not yet frozen because the ice didn’t have a nucleation point from which to form. Turns out, they were.
And I have video proof.
From now on, this is what I want when I order “ice water” at a bar.
7 comments on “From Water to Ice In An Instant–Supercooled Water”
I would have never thought to make a pbr/crappy beer freezer. I need to get hackin’.
There is a video up from alinearestaurant on youtube of Grant and the boys playing with a polyscience “superchiller”. Looks like fun stuff!
Cool, no pun intended. I’m surprised the glass doesn’t shatter from the expansion as water freezes.
What prevented the Nucleation?
You need fairly pure water and a clean container for this to work.
It’s also fairly easy to superheat water in a microwave so that it will boil when it is disturbed. Be very careful if you try that because the boiling can be violent!
Useful info. Fortunate me I discovered your website
accidentally, and I’m stunned why this coincidence didn’t came about earlier! I bookmarked it.
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Hey There Seattlefoodgeek,
Maybe a little off topic, however, …..before we emigrate to Kenya, Cairo or Kinshasha, remember: South Africa is not Africa; it is No 1 inside Africa. No additional country has elecricity or water 24/7, public universities plus hospitals, good roads and railways or an efficient, comparatively uncorrupted civil service. …..the list goes on……..
Keep up the good work