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Thread: Need help understanding some ice physics.

  1. #1 Need help understanding some ice physics. 
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    1
    Hello. So i've been playing around with a perfectly pointless activity: serving a cocktail in a ball of ice. I take ice ball molds and freeze them for a couple hours (2.5 hours seems to be the sweet spot for my freezer). Then i drill a small hole, extract the inner water with a syringe, and inject the (already freezer chilled) cocktail into the hollow ball. This all works very well and i'm happy with the result and durability. However, what i'm lacking is longevity.

    You see, the liquid always leaks out on the 3rd or 4th day of being in the fridge. Upon inspection i can see that the deterioration always takes place at the point where the ball comes in contact with the Styrofoam container that it sits on. I built wood trays that hold the bottom of Styrofoam cups, and the ice balls sit on those. Here's a visual:






    So i thought i would come here and ask you fine physics experts what is going on here. I understand that there is normal ice evaporation over time, as i can tell from some large ice cubes that get smaller and smaller over months if left untouched in my freezer. But i don't think that's what's going on here. I'm thinking maybe the styrofoam is my downfall? I chose it because it wouldn't be effected by moisture or the freezing temperature. Considering the breach always happens where the ice comes into contact with the cup i'm thinking maybe that was a bad choice. Furthermore, it seems like the ice the protrudes below the level of the styrofoam cup becomes thinner as well. It's hard to tell for sure because the cup fills up with cocktail once the ice wall is compromised.

    Any ideas on what is going on here or how I can make these last longer? I'm making them for an event in the spring and would like to be able to make them more than 3 days in advance. If i could get them to last a week or two that would be perfect.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer!
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  2. #2  
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    9
    Interesting

    You know the container is somewhat to a small extent shielding the ice from the direct below zero ambient temperature of the freezer.

    The cocktail cools because ice absorbs energy from it [ the latent heat ] causing it to melt and leak....

    I would try one without the cup if possible and check what happens.

    Else you can cool the cocktail to a temperature very close to zero or below depending on the alcohol you are using....for you important that it remains in liquid state.
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