Artificial ice is ice that exists in a temperature warmer than ice would normally be able to exist. Ice is able to form because the area has been artificially cooled. One example of artificial ice is the ice at a hockey rink. It remains frozen because of an underground cooling system even though the arena itself is not below freezing temperature. Most examples of artificial ice that you’ll find in large quantities are created using machinery, but you can make artificial ice using simple chemistry at home. Here’s how to make artificial ice:
Materials and supplies:
- Two buckets, one about half the size of the other
- Water, enough to fill both buckets halfway
- Sulfuric acid (from any chemistry or science supply store)
- About a cup of Glauber’s salt (also known as anhydrous sodium sulphate)
- Mix the larger container. Fill the larger container about 2/3 full with a combination of half sulfuric acid and half water. Children should be under adult supervision at all times during this experiment because of the materials used. Both sulfuric acid and Glauber’s salt, which are necessary ingredients, can be found at a science supply store. Do not over-fill the bucket, or it will overflow when the smaller container is set inside it.
- Fill the small bucket. The small bucket should be filled with cold water. Once filled, set it aside.
- Add Glauber’s salt. You’ll need to add approximately one handful of Glauber’s salt to the sulfuric acid and water in the larger bucket. This experiment should take about a cup, although exact measurements are unnecessary. A larger bucket will require more than a relatively smaller bucket. Gently agitate the bucket to distribute the Glauber’s salt throughout the water.
- Set up the experiment. Place the smaller container inside the larger bucket. The Glauber’s salt in the outer container will eventually freeze the water in the smaller container. Remove a little liquid from the larger bucket if it will overflow when you place the smaller container inside it.
- Use additional Glauber’s salt. If the water inside the smaller bucket is not freezing, add a little more Glauber’s salt in the larger bucket.
This science experiment is a lot of fun, though children should be properly supervised because of the chemicals used. Consider making artificial ice as part of a series of science experiments; another one that goes well with this experiment is the making of homemade ice cream, which also utilizes salt to increase the temperature at which a material will freeze. Glauber’s salt is also used in turquoise dye.