How to Calculate the Time It Takes Water to Freeze


Saying that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit would be an inaccurate statement. Ice melts at this temperature, but water can stay solid below it. So how do you tell exactly how long it takes to freeze water into ice without knowing the exact temperature? Experiment at home, using common items to get the answer to this question.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Thermometer
  • Containers of various sizes
  • Stopwatch
  • Timer
  • Fill three containers of varying sizes with water. Range the sizes from small to large such as an ice cube tray, a one cup container and a two cup container. If you would like to vary the experiment, duplicate the container sizes, but fill one with hot water and one with cold water. Take the temperature of the water at the beginning of the experiment and record it.

  • Place each container in the freezer and on the same shelf. Start your stopwatch when you shut the door and set a timer for one hour. When the timer goes off, take and record the temperature of each container of water.

  • Repeat this cycle with smaller increments of time on the timer, such as 30 minutes. The initial amount on the timer is needed for the water to cool from room temperature. Once it has cooled substantially, check it more often, so as not to miss when it reaches the frozen state. Remember, water does take a while to freeze in larger quantities, so start this experiment earlier in the day to accommodate for this.

  • Keep a record for each separate container. This helps to you compare how the amount of water in each container affects the freezing time.


  • Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images
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