The Fastest Ways to Freeze Liquids

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Rather than reviewing high school chemistry notes, there are a few simple guidelines that can be useful in quickly freezing liquids. However, it is important to note that different liquids have different freezing points. For example, water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, while it takes ethanol alcohol a temperature of -175 degrees Fahrenheit to freeze. For that reason, gaining the temperature necessary to freeze alcohol may not be possible for some people.

External Temperature

  • In order to freeze a liquid, it is necessary for the external temperature to be at or below the freezing point of that liquid. Often, weather reports will include the wind chill temperatures. However, this will not affect the actual freezing of the liquid. Even if the wind chill registers below 32 degrees, water will not freeze unless the absolute temperature is below 32 degrees. This is also true for other liquids with their respective freezing points.

Container

  • The most effective way to reduce the freezing time of liquids is to shrink the container size of the liquid. This allows the freezing temperature to permeate the liquid at a faster rate than in a large container. For example, consider how much longer it takes for a large lake to freeze in comparison with an ice cube tray. This is because the small tray is able decrease the liquid's temperature at a faster rate.

Depth of Container

  • Another factor to consider is the depth of the container that the liquid is stored in. The more shallow the container, the more quickly the liquid will freeze.This is because, the greater the ratio of surface area to overall density, the more quickly the liquid mass with lose its heat. Alternatively, the deeper the body of liquid, the longer it is able to retain heat and avoid freezing. This also explains why large bodies of liquid freeze from the outside, where it is more shallow, toward the inside, where it is deeper.

Cryogenic Freezing

  • Flash freezing or blast freezing is when a object, such as food, is frozen at an accelerated rate. This is done by putting the liquid in an environment well below its necessary freezing point. This can also be done by submerging an object in liquid nitrogen or a combination of ethanol and dry ice, which is solid carbon dioxide. However, these chemicals need to be handled with care, as they can be harmful if they come into contact with skin.

References

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