Turns out, you’ve been making ice wrong your whole life
With summer just around the corner, there’s never been a better time to figure out how to make ice faster. After all, it’s going to be the game-changing ingredient in everything we drink for the next three months, from coffee to cocktails.
This week, Mic shared a fine, not-so-new trick to do just that. Let’s start with the obvious logic: The most sensible way to make ice cubes seems like it would start with putting already-cold water in a tray and into to the freezer. After all, the distance between 50˚F water and 32˚F (the point at which water freezes) isn’t that far.
But as it turns out, if you want your ice cubes to solidify more quickly, you gotta start with hot water. What the what?!
It’s called the Mpemba effect and was discovered by Tanzanian student and scientist Erasto Mpemba way back in 1969. According to the theory, when warm or hot water goes into a freezer, the evaporation of hot water lowers the volume of water overall, which in turn allows the water as a whole to begin freezing. When cold water goes in, there’s no vapor protection, so a layer of ice forms rather quickly and ultimately insulates the water below from freezing as quickly.
The theory isn’t perfect and seems to only work under certain conditions, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try this summer. Yay, science!