Watch What Happens When Boiling Hot Water is Thrown Into Subzero -12 Air and How it Works [VIDEO]
The Twin Ports is experiencing its first sustained subzero temperatures in more than a few years, and with the cold weather warnings and school closings have followed. While these conditions are inconvenient and even potentially dangerous, a little fun can be found in it all.
The old “toss boiling water into subzero air” trick is something that middle school science teachers show students whenever temperatures dip below zero. Why does the hot water vaporize into a cloud?
The “Science-y” Stuff
The reason science says this works is two-fold. First, throwing the water into the air decreases the surface area of the water into a bunch of drops, rather than a cup of water; allowing it to cool more quickly. So, why doesn’t throwing cold water in such cold air work the same way? The greater the difference between the water temperature and air temperature, the more quickly it will change from one state to another (solid to liquid, liquid to gas, etc.). Being the water is near 212 degrees above zero and the air temperature is well below freezing, the transition from water to evaporated water and then to ice crystals is very quick.