Homemade Synthetic Ice

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Use chemicals to create your own artificial ice at home.
Use chemicals to create your own artificial ice at home. (Image: ice image by Pali A from Fotolia.com)

Synthetic ice is a type of ice created under artificial conditions. The ice is created in a warm atmosphere with the use of a cooling device such as chemicals. An ice skating rink uses this type of technology to provide a consistently frozen area for skaters for use. Large-scale venues use a special machine, along with chemicals, to create synthetic ice. But you can also make your own synthetic ice at home on a much smaller scale. Just be aware that while synthetic ice can be used to cool packaged items, it is not for consumption.

Things You'll Need

  • Large bucket
  • Small bucket
  • Water
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Glauber's salt (sodium sulfate salt)
  • Gloves

Mix one part water to one part sulfuric acid in a large bucket. Do not overfill the bucket. Leave about one-third of it empty to account for the expansion that will occur when the ice forms.

Fill a small bucket completely with very cold water. Put this bucket aside.

Add one cup of Glauber's salt to the large bucket. Stir gently until salt is moving through all the water in the large bucket.

Lower the small bucket into the large bucket. Hold it in the large bucket, but do not completely submerge it.

Watch the small bucket. Ice will begin to form, making synthetic ice out of the water in the small bucket.

Tips & Warnings

  • To provide some protection against accidental chemical spills, don a pair of gloves while you make synthetic ice at home.
  • While the synthetic ice itself is made from only water, the close presence of chemicals and the corresponding chance of spillage could render the ice unsafe for consumption. Therefore, it is best to consider synthetic ice unsafe for consumption.

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