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28 Responses to “How to: Instantly turn water into snow”

  1. xzzy says:

    I wanna see someone compare the crystals formed from this, compared to natural snowflakes.

    My only party trick involving freezing things is putting filtered water bottles in a snowbank overnight. Can do it in a freezer too, but snow is always more fun.. they seem to have a roughly 1 in 5 chance of not developing crystals, so when you pick it up and shake it a little bit the whole bottle will quickly turn into ice. Not solid ice though, it’s a pleasant slush.

  2. theophrastvs says:

    surely there is also some dispersive advantage to starting out with hot water (unrelated to eventual phase change), lowered surface tension, some portion already in vapor phase, larger micro-phlogistonal N-ray heat transfer Fermi surface interface (“God made the bulk, but the devil created the surface”), surely?  (“that’s already discussed in the article you @#$! and stop calling me Shirley”)

  3. jetfx says:

    I’ve done this several times in Calgary, Alberta when it gets down to -40 C. It never fails to be fun.

  4. Josh Ruhnke says:

    I have done this in an ice house out on Lake of the Woods. It is pretty cool.

  5. Cameron Brown says:

    Despite the fact that it doesn’t really make sense, it has been shown that hot water freezes faster than cold water.


    • Paul Renault says:

      You did read that paragraph in the link you provided, eh?  From what I’ve parsed, it hasn’t been shown.

      Me, I want to ask René Descartes just how those particles were bending.

      Edited to add: If you watch the video, you’ll notice that most of the water actually hit the ground. What water did freeze, actually produced ice fog, rather than snow.

      If you want expertise on turning water to some form of snow, visit your local ski slope or talk to some pseudomonas syringae.

      Bonus: ski resorts usually use water pulled from a local river or lake – nearly freezing cold – to make the snow.

    • Over the River says:

      As a friend once said “argue in the extreme”

      When placed into a -200°C environment, water at .00001°C which is cold, but not freezing, will freeze faster than water at 99.99999°C which is hot.  Therefore hot water will not freeze before cold water.

      Remember to disprove a theory one only needs one instance where the theory can be disproved.

      • C.J. Hayes says:

        The way I understand it, in practical situations, is that if you put cold water in a freezer, you will get a nearly equal amount of ice in a given amount of time.  But if you put the same amount of boiling (or near-boiling) water in a freezer, you will get a smaller amount of ice in a shorter amount of time.

        I haven’t done any experiments or anything.  But it makes sense to the analytical me, which has observed that dishes rinsed in very hot water air-dry faster.  The droplets evaporate more quickly exposed to room-temperature air.  Ergo, very hot water placed in a freezer will evaporate quickly, leaving the rest of the liquid free to freeze faster.

        I’m not arguing the science that says that cold water will reach higher temperatures more quickly than hot water will, just that the evidence pointing at hot water exhibiting a solid state more quickly still makes sense.

        • Over the River says:

          Interesting point, thanks. I should have added a 1L size for each and stated freeze means all 1L = 0°C. (all 1L remaining)

          I do agree hot water looses its heat quicker, but (in my example) the hot water has to loose 99.99999°C and the cold only .00001°C. 

          The link provided above looks to support the argument with a specific set of parameters. Theories don’t work that way. Thanks for your comment. 

        • ocker3 says:

           I wonder if 1L of boiling water is more pure H20 than 1L of regular tap water, thus leading to a more efficient freezing process?

  6. squeeziecat says:

    in Soviet Russia, snow throws you. 

  7. Montanan checking in on tossing boiling water out on a cold day.  Good times, until your mom discovers the back steps are now coated with ice.

  8. Back in the Nineties, I was staying in Downtown Minneapolis with a minus Forty degree night outside. Our hotel was across the street from a local TV station. My room was directly across from the rooftop set where the weatherman was demonstrating how cold it was by pulling a pitcher of boiling water from a microwave and tossing the contents into the air to make a mini-blizzard of instant snow. It was beautiful and awesome (and damned cold, too.)

  9. Guysmiley says:

    I can confirm this works in air temps as “warm” as -28F (-33 C), I’ve done it before multiple times.

  10. Jack Daniel says:

    Does not work in Florida. 

  11. oasisob1 says:

    In Spain, I tried the reverse – throwing a bucket of ice in the air on a really hot day. Results were very different.

  12. Phanatic says:

    The explanation completely neglects evaporative cooling, which is significant.  All else being equal, water at 100C is evaporating much faster than water at 20C, which means it’s cooling much faster, faster still than a simple calculation based solely on temperature differential and conductive cooling would indicate.  

  13. tnmc says:

    Seriously?  “Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics”?  Are we living in Idiocracy already?  

  14. spacedmonkey says:

    It makes me really happy that there’s a blog called “Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics.”

  15. sota767 says:

    -40C is the same as -40F. Didn’t know that.