Supercooling a liquid is a really neat way of keeping the liquid a liquid below the freezing temperature. Normally, when you decrease the temperature of water below 32oF, it turns into ice. But if you do it gently and slowly enough, it will stay a liquid, albeit a really cold one!

In nature, you’ll find supercooled water drops in freezing rain and also inside cumulus clouds. Pilots that fly through these clouds need to pay careful attention, as ice can instantly form on the instrument ports causing the instruments to fail. More dangerous is when it forms on the wings, changing the shape of the wing and causing the wing to stop producing lift. Most planes have de-icing capabilities, but the pilot still needs to turn it on.

We’re going to supercool water, and then disturb it to watch the crystals grow right before our eyes! While we’re only going to supercool it a couple of degrees, scientists can actually supercool water to below -43oF!

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2 Responses to “Water”
  1. You can change one variable at a time to see which one helps. What happens if you wait less time? Does that make a difference? How about adding less salt?

    Be sure to report back to let us know how it goes!

  2. amberrnelsen says:

    Our jar of water keeps freezing before we take it out. Do you know why it could be freezing instead of supercooling? We’ve tried it a couple times but each time the water is already freezing into crystals before we go to take it out.

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