Super Cool Water Trick

Did you know that water can sometimes remain liquid even below its freezing temperature? This is called supercooling. I've done this to water many times, and I'm going to tell you how to do it! This little experiment may be considered more related to chemistry than nature, but water is all about nature. And it's really fun.

When water is brought to its freezing point, ice crystals begin to form around impurities in the water. But if you freeze a sample of pure water slowly, the crystals don't form, and the water freezes instantly.

So why would you want to do this? Because of the very cool effect you'll see! I'll explain the whole thing, step by step. All you'll need is your freezer and an unopened bottle of distilled or purified water. You can possibly find one or both of these in the bottled water section and the supermarket. Check the labels. I have used Gatorade to do this experiment many times. It works very well for some reason(most likely a process called freezing point depression), so the water obviously doesn't always have to be too pure.

Let's get to the experiment.

  1. Place your bottle of unopened water in the freezer. Like I said before, I have even used Gatorade to do this. So you can experiment a bit with your type of liquid.
  2. Let the bottle of water chill for about 3 hours, without touching it. The exact amount of time may vary, depending on your freezer. You can tell for certain by putting a bottle of tap water next to your pure water, and waiting for the tap water to freeze. If your pure water freezes, then you waited too long or disturbed the bottle of pure water, or the water wasn't really pure.
  3. You can now carefully remove your supercooled water from the freezer. 
  4. Now comes the exciting part! You can do this in two different ways. The first way is to give the bottle of water a sudden shake. Watch closely as the water instantly freezes, right before your eyes! This is really fun to watch, and it was also the way I accidentally discovered how to do this. People used to come running to watch me do this supposedly mysterious trick with Gatorade.
    You can also do something a bit different. Instead of shaking the bottle, gently open it, and then pour it onto some normal ice. The water will then freeze backwards from the ice cube up into the bottle! 
Now you have two ways to amaze anyone, with just a simple bottle of water. I hope I explained this one clearly enough. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section. I'll answer all as quickly and as well as I can.

(If the good people who make Gatorade would like to pay me for inadvertently advertising the purity of their product, there are many links on this page where they can contact me.)


  1. This is fun, I have done it a few times myself with bottled tea (so much for purity I guess).

    It is a fun little physics (no chemical reactions involved) experiment.

  2. I love this, I never heard of it before. Guess I will have to give it a try, this sounds fun.

  3. I would be careful about trying this with a carbonated beverage. It may not work but if it does, you could have a little explosion in your hands.

  4. wow...sounds great...I will be getting some water tomorrow...that is if I can get to town...and the great thing is i will just be able to stand my bottles outside for a few hours and not do anything else as it's so cold here right now!!

  5. I'm going to try this, I have grandchildren to impress :O)


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