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How to freeze water

When the weather gets hot, the one thing you crave above all else is a glass or bottle of cold water to cool you off. So, we were thinking about freezing our water bottles, but also wondering what rules we need to follow.

How to freeze water

Surely, as water expands when freezing, the bottle may not be able to contain it all, so what do we have to do?

Can You Freeze Water Bottles?

One of our readers had the same question and sent us a message. Here is what it says:

I have kind of a weird question. I work outdoors during the summer, and I find that my water bottles get really hot and the water tastes gross. I have a thermal lunch bag, but it doesn’t seem to help much.

There’s nowhere really to buy cold water bottles at my work sites, so I have bring them from home. Someone I know suggested that I freeze the water bottles the night before, so that the water will be cold all day.

I know that water expands when it freezes, so I’m not sure if freezing a full water bottle would cause it to burst in the freezer.

Also, I’ve heard that unsafe chemicals can leach into the water from plastic water bottles during freezing. I don’t really want to ingest unsafe chemicals. Can you freeze water bottles?

You’re right that water expands upon freezing. Still, you can freeze water bottles.

How to Freeze Water Bottles?

How to freeze water

I would recommend letting an inch or two of water out first before resealing the bottle and placing it in the freezer. This would ensure there is enough room for expansion during freezing without worrying the lid will pop off!

Is Putting Water Bottles in the Freezer Safe?

How to freeze water

There are also many people who believe it is unsafe to freeze water bottles because of the chemicals in the plastic, but there is no current scientific evidence at the time of writing to support that claim. Plus, there are no dioxins in plastic, to begin with, but even if they were it seems that freezing works against the release of chemicals

Plastics are used to freeze foods all the time in the form of freezer-bags and other hard-sided plastic containers, and most people do not believe them to be unsafe for use.

Water bottles are similar. To freeze water bottles, remove a bit of liquid to allow for expansion, reseal tightly, and place in the freezer until you need it.

How to Thaw Water Bottles?

How to freeze water

You mentioned that you want to use the water bottles during the day at work. In that case, simply removing the water bottle from the freezer in the morning might result in you waiting a long time for the block of ice to thaw.

I recommend freezing a half-full water bottle. Then, in the morning before work, removing the bottle from the freezer and filling it with water. This way, the ice keeps the water cold, and the rest of the bottle will thaw gradually, allowing you to enjoy ice-cold water all day.

I have my cautions about “immediately” after pouring out a bit of the water, TIGHTLY SEALING the bottle, again, BEFORE putting it INTO the freezer. I understand that the freezing water expands, but if the lid is “tightly sealed”, wouldn’t the expanding freezing water “push against” the AIR sealed into the bottle, thus causing a “pressure” that would still lead to the bottle breaking? My friend told me to freeze the bottles of water WITHOUT the lids on (or, at least, “mostly” freeze), & to THEN put the lids back on, tightly. Which is correct?

Scientists just broke the record for water’s freezing point.

How to freeze water

“Ice cold” just got even colder: By creating ice from tiny droplets only a few hundred molecules in size, researchers have pushed water’s freezing point lower than ever before and changed what we know about how ice forms.

Knowing how and why water transforms into ice is essential for understanding a wide range of natural processes. Climate fluctuations, cloud dynamics and the water cycle are all influenced by water-ice transformations, as are animals that live in freezing conditions.

Wood frogs, for example, survive the winter on land by allowing their bodies to freeze. This allows them to come out of hibernation faster than species that spend the winter deep underwater without freezing. But ice crystals can rupture cell membranes, so animals that use this technique need to find a way to prevent ice from forming in their cells and tissues. A better understanding of how water freezes could lead to a better understanding of these extreme species.

While the rule of thumb is that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), water can actually stay liquid over a range of chilly temperatures under certain conditions. Until now, it was believed that this range stopped at minus 36 F (minus 38 C); any lower than that, and water must freeze. But in a study published Nov. 30 in the journal Nature Communications, researchers managed to keep droplets of water in a liquid state at temperatures as low as minus 47.2 F (minus 44 C).

There were two keys to their breakthrough: very small droplets and a very soft surface. They began with droplets ranging from 150 nanometers, barely bigger than an influenza virus particle, to as small as 2 nanometers, a cluster of only 275 water molecules. This range of droplet sizes helped the researchers uncover the role of size in the transformation from water to ice.

“We covered all of these ranges so that we can understand at which condition ice is going to form — which temperature, which size of the droplets,” study co-author Hadi Ghasemi, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Houston, told Live Science. “And more importantly, we found that if the water droplets are covered with some soft materials, the freezing temperature can be suppressed to a really low temperature.”

The soft material they used was octane, an oil that surrounded each droplet within the nanoscale pores of an anodized aluminum oxide membrane. That allowed the droplets to take on a more rounded shape with greater pressure, which the researchers say is essential for preventing ice formation at these low temperatures.

Because it’s basically impossible to observe the freezing process at these small scales, the researchers used measures of electrical conductance — since ice is more conductive than water — and light emitted in the infrared spectrum to catch the exact moment and temperature at which the droplets transformed from water to ice.

They found that the smaller the droplet, the colder it had to be for ice to form — and for droplets that were 10 nanometers and smaller, the rate of ice formation dropped dramatically. In the smallest droplets they measured, ice didn’t form until the water had reached a bone-chilling minus 44 C.

Does this mean that the microscopic droplets within clouds and biological cells can get even colder than we thought? “As a scientist, I would say we don’t know yet,” Ghasemi said.

But this discovery could mean big things for ice prevention on human-made materials, like those in aviation and energy systems, Ghasemi said. If water on soft surfaces takes longer to freeze, engineers could incorporate a mix of soft and hard materials into their designs to keep ice from building up on those surfaces.

“There are so many ways that you can use this knowledge to design the surfaces to avoid ice formation,” Ghasemi said. “Once we have this fundamental understanding, that next step is just the engineering of these surfaces based on the soft materials.”

Originally published on Live Science.

Ashley Hamer is a contributing writer for Live Science who has written about everything from space and quantum physics to health and psychology. She’s the host of two podcasts: Curiosity Daily and Taboo Science. She has also written for the YouTube channels SciShow and It’s Okay to Be Smart. With a bachelor’s and master’s degree in jazz saxophone from the University of North Texas, Ashley has an unconventional background that gives her science writing a unique perspective and an outsider’s point of view.

How to freeze water

When water freezes it usually passes from the liquid to the solid state. As a liquid, water molecules are in constant motion, bumping and jostling each other and never staying in one place for long. When water freezes, the molecules slow and settle into place, lining up in regular formations you see as crystals. For pure water, the temperature must drop to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (zero degrees Celsius) for this to happen. For any substance, the temperature at which freezing occurs depends on forces that make its molecules stick together.

Sticky Molecules And Freezing Point

All molecules and atoms have forces that attract one to the other. Some atoms, such as carbon, hold on to each other very strongly; others, such as helium, have very little attractive force. Substances with strong attractive forces freeze at thousands of degrees Fahrenheit, whereas those whose forces are weak, such as nitrogen, freeze at very frigid temperatures. The attraction between water molecules is moderate — neither weak nor powerful — so water freezes at a modest 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Freezing Point Depression

If you add other substances to water, such as sugar or salt, the temperature drops below 32 degrees before ice begins to form. The new freezing point depends on the added substance and how much you mix with water, and this is why cities put salt on the roads in some states to remove ice and snow in the winter. As another example, vodka, a mixture of water and alcohol, stays liquid for an extended period when kept in a freezer. The alcohol in the vodka lowers the freezing point significantly.

Freezing, Expansion And Crystal Formation

Most substances contract, or shrink, in volume as they get cold. Water only contracts until it is lowered to 39 degrees; at colder temperatures, it begins to expand. As the water gets colder, its molecules slow down and arrange themselves such that gaps exist between groups of molecules. As they get colder, the molecules form hexagonal patterns that eventually become snowflakes and related crystals.

Force Of Ice Expansion

If you fill a bottle completely filled with water, then seal it with a lid before putting it into a freezer, the water expands as it gets colder. Eventually, the ice will burst the bottle. This is true even for containers made of strong materials such as iron; the pressure exerted by freezing water is as high as 40,000 psi at minus 7.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 22 degrees Celsius).

How to freeze water

Though it is one of the great mysteries of science, the transformation of water into ice often escapes people’s minds as it is just assumed that’s what happens. But how and why it happens is the subject of intense scrutiny by ice scientists like Hadi Ghasemi, Cullen Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston. In order to watch the process of crystallization of water into ice at the molecular level, Ghasemi is reporting the best look yet at the process: water-ice phase transformation down to 2 nm (nanometers) in diameter.   

Then when Ghasemi examined these tiny particles, he made another discovery. He could break the limit of when water freezes and maintain the tiny droplets as liquid by putting them in contact with soft interfaces,  like gels or lipids.   

“We found that if a water droplet is in contact with a soft interface, freezing temperature could be significantly lower than hard surfaces. Also, a few-nanometer water droplet could avoid freezing down to -44 C if it is in contact with a soft interface,” Ghasemi reports in  Nature .  

The limit of freezing temperature of a water droplet is -38  C. That is, any water droplet will freeze at some temperature between 0   C to -38   C. Below this temperature, freezing has been inevitable, until now.  

The process of freezing such a tiny water droplet plays a critical role in the survival of animals in cold environments as a frozen water droplet inside a cell leads to the rupture of the cell and death. The process also plays a key role in climate prediction, cloud conditions, cryopreservation of organs and technologies exposed to icing conditions such as aircraft and wind turbines.  

“Experimental probing of freezing temperature of few nanometer water droplets has been an unresolved challenge. Here, through newly developed metrologies, we have been able to probe freezing of water droplets from micron scale down to 2 nm scale,” said Ghasemi.  

Previously Ghasemi created an ice-repelling material for aerospace applications using a new concept called stress localization.  His current findings contribute to a greater understanding of natural phenomena and provide guidelines for further design of anti-icing systems for aviation, wind energy and infrastructures and even cryopreservation systems.  

I want to freeze water as quickly as possible. Let me explain my situation :

I have a setup that holds water which needs to freeze to create a surface of ice on which I will be demonstrating products.

I have a compressor with a pump that runs Glycol in some copper pipes immersed in the water.

This whole setup is great and transportable, but it takes an eternity to freeze around 10L of water (more than 6 hours) and I need it to be faster than that since I will be traveling with it to give demonstrations!!

I am looking for a way of accelerating the freezing process, ideally without having to change the whole setup (I am willing to change a couple of parts or whatnots).

6 Answers 6

Try to ditch commen sense and go for science!

1. Use hot water as your starting point.

How to freeze water

Since there is some debate about the effect, whether it is real or not: the greater the exposed surface area, like in a lake were the effect was discovered or the apparent application from the question, the stronger the effect seems to be.

If you keep accurate records about this you may contribute to the exact sciences as well.

2. Use de-salinated water, and then add back in impurities, like testosterone

Salt water has a lower freezing point. We want to avoid that. Using really pure water may be less than ideal, but adding a small amount of impurities back in actually raises the freezing temperature. And surprisingly to be as cool as ice but actually a bit hotter the water may benefit from a bit of testorerone.

3. Use a long chain alcohol as a crystal-forming primer

Drunk water, like drunk people, freezes easier.

Starting above 4 chain carbon molecules, pentanol and above, added in very small amounts may accelerate the ice crystal forming process. The glycol mentioned in the question is known as an anti-freeze, because it is so short. Longer molecules may reverse this effect.

These options are not in any special order.

How to freeze water

Try starting with a cooler solution when you arrive at your destination and set up for your demonstration.

Rather than filling your tray (tank) with plain tap water, stop at a convenience store to get crushed ice and add the minimum amount of water to the ice chips to make a slush. If you have a mallet, you can reduce cubes to chips in a few minutes right in the plastic bag used to carry them. A nylon bag is reusable and much neater to use to hold cubes while you pulverize them with the mallet.

Motels and hotels have ice machines on every floor. Many supermarkets have machines that make crushed ice in bulk. You don’t need more than a few kilograms to get a head start on the process.

Then, all you must do is pull the temperature lower is start the compressor to finish the job.

I don’t know how big your surface of ice must be, but maybe something like the following could work for you.

Travel with some blocks of dry ice in a cooler. At presentation time, lay the blocks out and put a metal (aluminum should work well) plate on top. After the plate is very cold, pour a small amount of water across the plate to create a thin sheet of ice.

You could use chemical reactions which are endothermic (they suck heat out of stuff). This will work assuming your product isn’t food based. You could use bottled water which freezes faster that tap water. You could put a portable fridge in the back of your car to freeze water while driving around.

Edit: here is a video of an endothermic reaction I think you could use:endothermic reaction

I suppose you need a smooth ice surface for your product. The key is to have a small temperature difference so the freezing process goes as fast as possible.

Do not fill your container fully and prefreeze it before starting. Build an isolation chamber either with industrial foam in a form or (easy and cheap) wrap the container into lots and lots of newspaper pages.
Also get a jug of water and place it into the freezer so that ice is building, meaning the water is near 0°C. Put that water into a thermos.
So you have now an almost full container of ice and a thermos of very cold water.

When you need it, get the container out. Most of the ice should be still there. Place some weights on the ice so it does not float and carefully pour the thermos water on the ice so that the container has the level you need.

Switch the cooler on. Now the thermos water is still cold and it gets cooled by the ice underneath it. The freezing process should now go very fast.

Last week researchers at the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore proposed what might be the most plausible explanation yet for the Mpemba effect [PDF].

You've probably heard before that hot water freezes faster than cold water—that's the Mpemba effect. I remember when my older sister told me that when we were kids. I didn't believe her then and went on not believing her for many years. It's the kind of thing that has the ring of an old wives' tale.

But let's get one thing straight: there's not really any debate about the fact that the Mpemba effect exists. It has been observed in numerous controlled experiments.* Aristotle first noted its existence when he wrote about how ice fishermen would heat up water to get it to freeze faster over two millennia ago. The effect is named after the Tanzanian Erasto Mpemba, who, as a secondary school student in 1963, noticed that hot ice cream mixes would freeze faster than cold ice cream mixes. His question to guest lecturer Dr. Denis G. Osborne, "If you take two similar containers with equal volumes of water, one at 35 °C (95 °F) and the other at 100 °C (212 °F), and put them into a freezer, the one that started at 100 °C (212 °F) freezes first. Why?" was initially mocked, but Osborne later reproduced Mpemba's results and co-authored a paper with him explaining the observations in 1969.

*And no, your buddy who says, "One time I filled an ice cube tray with hot water and another with cold and the cold froze faster," doesn't count as a controlled experiment.

It's completely counterintuitive and seems to violate the basic laws of thermodynamics. To be clear, what we're saying here is that under certain conditions, the total time it takes for a volume of warm water to freeze will be smaller than the total time it takes for an equal volume of cold water to freeze, given the exact same external temperature. It's a really strange thing. I mean, at some point in the process, doesn't the warm water reach the exact same initial state as the cold water? And if so, why does that cold-water-that-was-recently-hot freeze faster than the water that started out cold? It's left folks scratching their heads or outright denying its existence for decades.

Since then, numerous explanations have been put forth to try and explain the phenomenon, but none have been much more than plausible-sounding theories. Here are a few of them:

Theory: Convection currents in the warm water caused by large temperature differentials will cause it to cool more rapidly, and those convection currents continue even after the water has dropped to the same temperature as the cooler water, thus allowing it to overtake the cooler water in freezing.*

*Problem: Water is pretty viscous stuff and convection currents like that will not continue to flow for the time it takes to cool the water.

Theory: Hot water evaporates. Less water left behind means less water to freeze.**

**Problem: Even accounting for evaporation, hot water has been observed to freeze faster than cold.

Theory: Hot water creates convection patterns in the air inside a freezer, which increases its cooling efficiency.***

***Problem: You can run an experiment with hot and cold trays in the same freezer and still observe the warm one to freeze faster than the cool one.

Theory: Cold water freezes in a layer on top, creating insulation and preventing the rest from cooling very fast.****

****Problem: The hot water will also form this frost layer.

The experimental problems are large because there are so many variable to control—aside form starting temperatures, there’s also the shape of the freezer, the volume and shape of the container, the insulative properties of the container, the dissolved solids in the water, etc. Up until last week’s paper, the most plausible work done was by interested lay-person James Brownridge, who proposed that heating water changes the nature of its impurities, which in turn alters its freezing point (he observed that most water actually supercools beyond 0°C and doesn’t begin to crystallize until significantly below this temperature).

The new paper claims that there's actually a chemical explanation for the effect, and one that mathematically fits observed data—as far as I know, the first explanation to be able to do so.

Water molecules consist of two hydrogen molecules attached to an oxygen molecule primarily through strong covalent bonds. Normally, covalent bonds will soften and lengthen as they are heated. But in water, because of the unique properties of hydrogen bonds—the interaction between the hydrogen atoms in one water molecule and the oxygen molecule in a neighboring molecule—the opposite effect happens. As a body of water absorbs energy, the hydrogen bonds will stretch (causing individual water molecules to move apart from each other), but the covalent bonds within each molecule become shorter and stiffer—the same thing that happens when water freezes.

So on an individual molecular level, heated water more closely resembles frozen water than the initial colder water did. More importantly, the rate at which the energy in these shrunken covalent bonds is released dependent exponentially on how much energy was initially stored. Effectively, hot water has energy wound up like a spring which gets released when you begin to cool it, allowing it to cool and freeze faster.

You can read up on the details in the full paper here, complete with completely unintelligible diagrams and charts.

Most liquids have a quite simple behavior when they are cooled (at a fixed pressure): they shrink. The liquid contracts as it is cooled; because the molecules are moving slower they are less able to overcome the attractive intermolecular forces drawing them closer to each other. Then the freezing temperature is reached, and the substance solidifies, which causes it to contract some more because crystalline solids are usually tightly packed.

Water is one of the few exceptions to this behavior. When liquid water is cooled, it contracts like one would expect until a temperature of approximately 4 degrees Celsius is reached. After that, it expands slightly until it reaches the freezing point, and then when it freezes it expands by approximately 9%.

This unusual behavior has its origin in the structure of the water molecule. There is a strong tendency to form a network of hydrogen bonds, where each hydrogen atom is in a line between two oxygen atoms. This hydrogen bonding tendency gets stronger as the temperature gets lower (because there is less thermal energy to shake the hydrogen bonds out of position). The ice structure is completely hydrogen bonded, and these bonds force the crystalline structure to be very “open”, as shown in the following picture:

The pictures on this page are provided courtesy of the MathMol project at the NYU/ACF Scientific Visualization Laboratory.
Information about MathMol can be found here.

In the following two pictures, the first shows a typical structure of liquid water, while the second is an ice structure; note the extra open space in the ice.

It is this open solid structure that causes ice to be less dense than liquid water. That is why ice floats on water, for which we should all be thankful because if water behaved “normally” many bodies of water would freeze solid in the winter, killing all the life within them.

Water’s “density maximum” is a product of the same phenomenon. Close to the freezing point, the water molecules start to arrange locally into ice-like structures. This creates some “openness” in the liquid water, which tends to decrease its density. This is opposed by the normal tendency for cooling to increase the density; it is at approximately 4 degrees Celsius that these opposing tendencies are balanced, producing the density maximum.

That will vary from home to home but when the temperatures drop below 10 degrees you should be aware! Some homes will need to take precautions at higher temperatures, others can go much lower, it is important to know your home to know when to take action. Some of the following suggestions require the use of water, yes you have to pay for the water even if it was for freeze protection, but you will usually find that the cost of paying for the water is much less then a repair bill from a plumber.

Run just the smallest trickle of water, like the size of a pencil lead out of a tap, yes it might cost you a little extra on your water bill but it will still be substantially cheaper than having a frozen pipe!

Do not turn your heat down! Especially if you have hot water heat. The time it takes the house to cool down to the temperature you set it down too, can be the same time it takes to freeze your pipes.

Open the cabinet doors under your sinks to allow the warmer room air in.

Some homes have to have heat tape on certain sections of their pipes.

If you have hot water heat, don’t turn down the heat during these cold spells because the time it takes for the house to cool down can be the time it takes for the pipes to freeze since the hot water heat pipes are typically run along outside walls, where it gets the coldest

If you’re going to be gone from your home you may want take the above precautions even if the weather isn’t bad when you leave. The weather is not that predictable. Make sure you have someone check your home daily, if a pipe freezes, bursts, and defrosts, it can flood your home and cause even more damage.

Please, please call us when you have no running water because of frozen pipes.
We need to make sure that there is water at your meter pit and take some precautionary measure to protect the rest of the water system. If your pipes freeze it can travel all the way to the main water lines in the street and to your neighbors.

Has anyone been in your meter pit? Either you or a plumber? Did they close it properly? It is very frustrating to get called out for a call of “I don’t have any water” only to find someone has been in the meter pit and didn’t close the lid right so the meter froze. Not only is it frustrating but it usually means the meter has been damaged and has to be repaired. That means we have to first defrost the piping in the pit and the meter, then we have to fix the meter, which means we are probably getting wet, and if you think its cold in your house try it outside, at night, when its freezing, and the problem could have been avoided!

Snow, snow everywhere!

When you clear your driveway try not to bury the meter pit or the transmitter next to it (that’s the tan box by the meter pit), not only can it interfere with our ability to read the meters but if you do have a burst pipe and the water needs to be turned off at the meter pit it can turn into quite the “hunt” to find the meter pit. The faster we can get to the meter pit the sooner we can stop the flow of the water in your home and the less damage there will be! So its not only for our benefit but for yours too.

A little bit of precaution can save you large plumbing bills, damage to your home from burst water pipes, and the experience of having to live without water. Remember if your pipes frozen, there are probably lots of other homes with the same problem and you may not get a plumber right away, it could be days.

Know where the main water shut off is to your home so that if a pipe bursts you can turn off the water! This will reduce the amount of damage to your home.

How to freeze water

Freezers are common in modern kitchens. They’re fantastic for storing food or making ice cubes. Despite being common kitchen equipment, not many people truly understand how a freezer works or how long it takes to freeze water.

It takes about 1–2 hours for a freezer to freeze room temperature water in an ice cube tray. A freezer may take longer to freeze water of a larger volume. The freezer’s temperature, the water temperature, and air conditions also influence how long it takes for water to freeze in a freezer.

Keep reading as I discuss the factors that affect the time it takes for water to freeze in a freezer. I’ll also explore how you can speed up the freezing process. You’ll have better insight into how water freezes and how you can quickly freeze water in your freezer by the end of this piece.

Factors That Influence the Time a Freezer Takes to Freeze Water

You may have observed in the past that water doesn’t always freeze at the same rate. That’s due to a number of factors that influence the water and how long it’ll take to freeze. So what are the main influences on how long water takes to freeze?

Here are some factors that influence how long it takes a freezer to freeze water:

  • Water temperature
  • Freezer temperature
  • Water volume
  • Items inside the freezer
  • Air conditions

See below for a breakdown of how these factors influence how long it takes a freezer to freeze water.

Different Water Temperatures Result in Different Freezing Time

The temperature of the water placed into your freezer significantly affects how long it takes to freeze. For instance, water from your refrigerator will freeze quicker than temperature water.

However, water also has a unique characteristic where hot water also freezes quicker than room temperature water. This unique feature of water is known as the Mpemba effect .

Not All Freezers Are Equal

Not all freezer chill items to the same temperature. Some freezers reach lower temperatures than others. Lower temperatures will freeze water faster as the heat is drawn out quicker. Your freezer’s make, model, and condition also influence how cold your freezer is.

On top of this, if you keep opening the freezer door , that will dramatically raise the temperature as cold air escapes.

It Takes More Time to Freeze More Water

One of the biggest influences on how long it takes your freezer to freeze water is the anoint you want to freeze. For instance, water will freeze in an ice tray much faster than it will in a large bottle or container. Therefore, how long it takes for water to freeze in your freezer depends on the volume of water you want to freeze.

What’s Inside Your Freezer Influences How Quickly Water Will Freeze

The items stored in your freezer, along with how they’re stacked and how many items there are in relation to the size of the freezer, can influence the time it takes water to freeze. Freezers that are stacked with already frozen items will freeze water quicker as the frozen items will freeze water quicker than only cold air that’s present in an empty freezer.

Air Circulation and Conditions Effect Water Freeze Time

The air conditions present in your freezer significantly influence how long it takes water to freeze. Levels of humidity in the air, air turbulence, and air temperature all affect the freezing process. The air conditions also vary from freezer to freezer, suggesting that not all freezers freeze water at the same rate.

How to Make Water Freeze Quicker in a Freezer

If you’ve ever hosted an evening and forgotten to get ice, you’ll quickly realize how long it can take water to freeze. But luckily, there are tricks you can use to speed up the process. So how can you make water freeze faster in your freezer?

Heat water before placing it in a container in your freezer to make the water freeze quicker. This trick works thanks to the Mpemba effect. You can also speed up the freezing process by filling the freezer with frozen goods before placing your water inside.

The Mpemba effect is a term given to describe how warm water freezes quicker than cold water. However, the route this affects and the factors that facilitate this are under dispute.

Nevertheless, the Mpemba effect can be measured and is a valuable piece of information when freezing water.

How Long Does Water Take to Become Ice Cubes?

At this stage, you’re already aware that the amount of water you’re trying to freeze has a significant influence on how long it takes to freeze. However, most people freeze water to make ice. So how long does ice take to freeze in an ice cube tray?

Water takes about 1–2 hours to become ice cubes when placed in an ice tray in a freezer. However, you can reduce this time by filling the freezer with products or hot water. When warm water (35°C or 95°F) is used to fill an ice tray, the ice will form in as little as 45 minutes.

How Long Does a Gallon of Water Take to Freeze?

You already know how long ice trays take to freeze; however, I have yet to discuss more significant quantities of water. Larger quantities of water will typically take longer to freeze. So if you have a large quantity of water, for example, a gallon (3.79 L), how long will it take to freeze?

A gallon of water will typically freeze in about 3–4 hours. However, this number will vary depending on several factors. The freezer used to freeze the gallon of water, the temperature of the freezer, the air and water conditions, and the water temperature all influence freezing time.

Final Thoughts

The time it takes water to freeze in a freeze isn’t always consistent. However, in most freezers, an ice tray of water will freeze in 1–2 hours. The exact time it takes water to freeze is influenced by several factors that can slow or speed up the process. One common effect is the Mpemba effect which states that hit water will chill faster than room temperature water.

Larger quantities of water will also take longer to freeze. For example, a gallon of water will take at least 3 hours to freeze in most freezers.