What Happens When You Throw Boiling Water Out The Window On A -41°C Day?



The cascade turns into a floating vertical column of ice crystals.

Wired quotes Chemistry Ph.D Joe Larsen of the Rockwell Science Centre in LA, who explains:

Some people claim that hot water freezes faster because a pot of boiling water can be thrown into the air on a cold winter day, and it freezes in mid air creating a shower of ice crystals. Whereas a pot of cold water thrown into the air comes down as large blobs of water. This happens because the hot water is so close to being steam, that the act of throwing it into the air causes it to break up into tiny droplets. (hot water is less viscous than cold water, listen to the sound it makes when you pour it in the sink) The small water droplets have a large surface area which allows for a great deal of evaporation, this removes heat quickly. And finally, the cooled droplets are so small, that they can be easily frozen by the winter air.

Now you know.


(Hat tip: James Dempsey)

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