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Hot Water Freezes Faster Than Cold

What Should Happen What Actually Happens Some choose not to believe it, but this phenomenon can be demonstrated in your own freezer under the proper conditions. If you have two pails filled with equal amounts of water, one hot and one cold, and you set them out in the snow on a cold winter's mornin , what happens!

'hotons in %wo 'laces at (nce A photon travels two paths in one )ourney. $ell's Inequality and %he *'+ 'arado# Why *instein didn't li"e ,uantum %heory& +elativity -iolated. Hot Water .reezes .aster %han /old It's true. .ind out why. 0ain /ool 'hysics 'a e Have a question on this pa e! 'ost your questions or answer other's questions. %ell us about another /ool 'hysics 'henomenon1

What Should Happen

Any reasonable person would thin" that the hot pail would ta"e lon er than the cold pail to freeze. After all, the hot water needs e#tra time to reach the same temperature as the cold pail. When the hot pail finally does reach the same temperature as the cold pail initially was, the cold pail should already be frozen.
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What Actually Happens

%here are several thin s that help the hot pail freeze faster than the cold pail. Here are what is thou ht to be the most si nificant factors& The hot water is more likely to be supercooled. %his means that the hot water's temperature is more li"ely to cool to temperatures

below zero de rees /elsius. In the cold non2supercooled water, ice crystals form and float to the top, formin a sheet of ice over the top of the water, creatin an insulatin layer between the cooler air and the water. %his ice sheet also stops evaporation. In the hot water that has become supercooled 3thus, no lon er hot4 the water, when it does freeze, freezes throu hout, creatin more or less of a slush before freezin solid.

7ayer of ice forms on the top of the cold water.

Why is hot water more li"ely to be supercooled! $ecause hot water is less li"ely to contain tiny as bubbles. 5as bubbles form from dissolved asses as the water cools. When the hot water was heated, these dissolved asses may have been driven out. In cold water, ice crystals use the tiny bubbles as startin points for formation 3in physics, we call them nucleation points4. $ut in the hot water, there are no bubbles, so there aren't as many startin points for the ice crystals. 6issolved asses also lower the freezin point. Since heated as is less li"ely to contain dissolved asses, it's more li"ely to freeze first.

Water in the hot water pail evaporates at a much faster rate than the cold water. %his does two thin s. .irst, the process of evaporation is endothermic, which means it ta"es ener y for somethin to evaporate. As a molecule of water evaporates, it leaves the surface of the water and flies into the atmosphere. %hus, in simplified terms, the molecule converted heat

ener y into "inetic ener y 3ener y of motion4. Since the hot water evaporates quic"er than the cold water, it loses heat ener y quic"er than the cold ener y. Second, since some of the hot water evaporates away, there is less water left to have to freeze. The hot water pail will melt the surroundin snow . 7ater, as it be ins to freeze, the snow around the pail will freeze bac" so that it more closely 8touches8 the pail. %he cold water pail is then only sittin in fluffy airy snow, while the hot water pail is in a form fittin ice2crust. %he ice2crust will obviously conduct the cold better that the airy snow. (ther factors, such as convection currents 3the movement made as hot water rises while cool water sin"s4 may or may not play a role in this odd phenomenon.
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The Mpemba effect is the assertion that warmer water can sometimes freeze faster than colder water. Although there is anecdotal support for the effect, there is no agreement on exactly what the effect is and under what circumstances it occurs.


1 Historical observations 2 pemba!s observations " #ffect definition $ %uggested explanations


$.1 %calar functionality pemba effect

& 'ecent view of the ( %ee also ) 'eferences * +ibliography , #xternal lin-s

Historical observations
%imilar behavior was observed by ancient scientists such as Aristotle,.1/ 0The fact that the water has previously been warmed contributes to its freezing 1uic-ly2 for so it cools sooner. Hence many people, when they want to cool water 1uic-ly, begin by putting it in the sun. %o the inhabitants of 3ontus when they encamp on the ice to fish 4they cut a hole in the ice and then fish5 pour warm water round their reeds that it may freeze the 1uic-er, for they use the ice li-e lead to fix the reeds0. Aristotle!s explanation involved an erroneous property he called antiperistasis, defined as 0the supposed increase in the intensity of a 1uality as a result of being surrounded by its contrary 1uality0.

#arly modern scientists such as 6rancis +acon.2/ noted that 0slightly tepid water freezes more easily than that which is utterly cold0. 7n the original 8atin 0a1ua parum tepida facilius conglacietur 1uam omnino frigida0 'en9 :escartes."/ in his :iscourse 3remier 0;ne can see by experience that water that has been -ept on a fire for a long time freezes faster than other, the reason being that those of its particles that are least able to stop bending evaporate while the water is being heated0. :escartes! explanation here relates to his theory of vortices.

Mpemba's observations
The effect is named after Tanzanian #rasto pemba. He first encountered the phenomenon in 1,(" in 6orm " of agamba %econdary %chool, Tanganyi-a when freezing ice cream mix that was hot in coo-ery classes and noticing that they froze before cold mixes. After passing his ;< level examinations, he became a student at -wawa %econdary 4formerly High5 %chool, 7ringa, Tanzania. The headmaster invited :r. :enis =. ;sborne from the >niversity ?ollege in :ar #s %alaam to give a lecture on physics. After the lecture, #rasto pemba as-ed him the 1uestion 07f you ta-e two similar containers with e1ual volumes of water, one at "& @? 4,& @65 and the other at 1AA @? 4212 @65, and put them into a freezer, the one that started at 1AA @? 4212 @65 freezes first. BhyC0 only to be ridiculed by his classmates and teacher. After initial consternation, :r. ;sborne experimented on the issue bac- at his wor-place and confirmed pemba!s finding. They published the results together in 1,(,..$/

Effect definition
Although widely mentioned there are very few, if any, modern descriptions of exactly what the effect is and how it may be observed. 7t is not clear whether !freezing! refers to the point at which water forms a visible surface layer of ice, or the point at which the entire volume of water becomes a solid bloc- of ice. %ome experiments have instead measured the time until the water reached A @?..&/ There are no reliable sources that indicate exactly how to demonstrate the effect and under exactly what conditions it occurs.

Suggested explanations
;sborne observed that the top is warmer than the bottom in a bea-er of water being cooled, the difference being sustained by convection. +loc-ing heat transfer from the top with a film of oil drastically slowed cooling. Also, the effect of dissolved air was accounted for by using boiled water. The bea-ers were also insulated from the bottom. At first sight, the behaviour seems contrary to thermodynamics. any standard physical theory effects contribute to the phenomenon, although no single explanation is conclusive. %everal effects may contribute to the observation, depending on the experimental set<up2

Evaporation2 The evaporation of the warmer water reduces the mass of the water to be frozen..(/ #vaporation is endothermic, meaning that the water mass is cooled by vapor carrying away the heat, but this alone probably does not account for the entirety of the effect..)/ Convection2 Accelerating heat transfers. 'eduction of water density below $ @? 4", @65 tends to suppress the convection currents that cool the lower part of the li1uid massD the lower density of hot water would reduce this effect, perhaps sustaining the more rapid initial cooling. Higher convection in the warmer water may also spread ice crystals around faster..*/ Frost2 Has insulating effects. The lower temperature water will tend to freeze from the top, reducing further heat loss by radiation and air convection, while the warmer water will tend to freeze from the bottom and sides because of water convection. This is disputed as there are experiments that account for this factor. Supercooling2 7t is hypothesized that cold water, when placed in a freezing environment, supercools more than hot water in the same environment, thus solidifying slower than hot water..,/ However, supercooling tends to be less significant where there are particles that act as nuclei for ice crystals, thus precipitating rapid freezing. Solutes2 The effects of calcium, magnesium carbonate among others..1A/ Thermal conductivity2 The container of hotter li1uid may melt through a layer of frost that is acting as an insulator under the container 4frost is an insulator, as mentioned above5, allowing the container to come into direct contact with a much colder lower layer that the frost formed on 4ice, refrigeration coils, etc.5 The container now rests on a much colder surface 4or one better at removing heat, such as refrigeration coils5 than the originally colder water, and so cools far faster from this point on. The effect of heating on dissolved gasesD however, this was accounted for in the original article by using boiled water. Latent heat of condensation2 :uring the cooling phase the cooler container is pic-ing up more condensation than the warm container. This reduces the rate of cooling. .11/

Scalar functionality
According to an article by onwhea Eeng2 0Analysis of the situation is now 1uite complex, since we are no longer considering a single parameter, but a scalar function, and computational fluid dynamics 4?6:5 is notoriously difficult.0.)/

Recent view of the Mpemba effect

A reviewer for Physics World writes, 0#ven if the pemba effect is real F if hot water can sometimes freeze more 1uic-ly than cold F it is not clear whether the explanation would be

trivial or illuminating.0 He pointed out that investigations of the phenomenon need to control a large number of initial parameters 4including type and initial temperature of the water, dissolved gas and other impurities, and size, shape and material of the container, and temperature of the refrigerator5 and need to settle on a particular method of establishing the time of freezing, all of which might affect the presence or absence of the pemba effect. The re1uired vast multidimensional array of experiments might explain why the effect is not yet understood..&/ New Scientist recommends starting the experiment with containers at "& @? 4,& @65 and & @? 4$1 @65 to maximize the effect..12/