Saturday, February 03, 2007

fun stuff to do when it's below zero

Did you know if you toss a pan of boiling water in the air when the temperature is 12 below zero (which, by the way, was our high temp for the day), this is what happens? Sorry for the off center photo; I did the tossing and the photography. Anyway, the water vaporizes, explodes, and freezes all at the same time. I have been pondering the physics behind this phenomenon all day, but I still can't quite figure out an explanation of why this happens. Maybe if there's a very good science teacher out there he might shed some light on this. Obviously from the trajectory of the water particles, some sort of energetic release is involved. I learned this trick from a fellow Minnesotan on the Homesteading Today forums.
Another fun thing to do, with the benefit of getting cleaned up without taking an outdoor shower: Family memberships at the school swimming pool are $48 a month. They have open swimming Saturday afternoons, so we enjoyed a swim today, followed by a long hot shower. I haven't relaxed so much or had so much fun in the water for a long time. I enjoyed it so much, I'm going to start swimming laps Tuesdays and Thursdays after work. The shower alone is worth it, not to mention the exercise!
I also spent some time this morning labeling my last 100 blog posts, since I now have this option. I have about 500 posts to go, so this will take a while, but I'm really liking this feature. The only problem is, the floor under the computer is about the least insulated floor in the house, not to mention we didn't get around to putting up plastic on all the porch windows. So I have cold feet.


Xris said...

I've only heard of people doing this, never seen it myself. I'm really curious about the "exploding" part.

You've got water in all three states - liquid, gas, and solid - at least for a brief moment. As water evaporates, the remaining water cools. As water freezes, heat is released. So that's all happening at once. But at those temperatures, the cold wins quickly. Even the water vapor freezes into snow.

The hardest part would seem to be keeping the water boiling hot once you get out the door!

Floridacracker said...

I have calculated that you will need to toss 8,976,654,345.2 boiling hot pots of water to raise the temperature of Minnesotarctica to a reasonable temperature of 40 degrees. You may need more than one pot.
Seriously, that is insanely cold.

GirlGoneGardening said...

Try blowing soap bubbles! :)

the dharma bum said...

deb - randy brock, minnesota weather blogger extraordinaire, actually had two posts about this last week... you might enjoy them:

Hot water freezes faster than cold water…sometimes.
Follow-up to my HWFFTCW…S post

Deb said...

xris- I have researched this on the web now, and what you said certainly makes sense.

FC- in scientific language, "insanely cold" describes it. Perfectly.

ggg- I think I may have done that last year. There's only so much winter fun you can do with three kids in one small house. :)

dharma bum - thanks, I think those posts were what I was looking for as far as to explanations why this happened.

The horizonal acceeration must be due to the energy that is released when water freezes into ice.

Amazingly, we have an electric heater going, trying to trick our refrigerator into working normally; the freezer does not freeze things when it's this cold out. Why even bother? We did without for quite a while. :)

B.L.Atkins said...

I've always wanted to try this! The only thing is, I really loathe cold weather.
Thank you for sharing.