heating ice

You would think that when you heat up ice that it gets warmer bit by bit. And maybe that the more you heat it the hotter it gets. Well it’s not like that. We set out to see what happens to the temperature when we heated some ice. We used a temperature sensor to measure the temperature, taking several readings a second until our water was boiling.

What we did

We set up a beaker of ice, a temperature sensor and started heating it. We stirred it as often as we could.

Our results

This temperature graph shows what happens when you heat ice. We’re not too happy about the actual readings, and we did the experiment again with the same results, but this sort of thing happens sometimes.

Looking at the results

  • How long did we leave our water boiling for?
  • Why doesn’t the temperature go on rising forever?
  • How many flat patches are there in the graph? What is happening during these flat patches?
  • Why does the temperature start rising immediately after the first flat patch?
  • Something seems wrong with our temperature sensor. What it is telling us about water’s melting and boiling points?

What else you can do

Try for yourself: how would the graph look if salt was mixed with the ice before the experiment started?

How would the graph look if alcohol (no flames allowed!) was used instead of water?

This page was written up by Roger Frost and the experiment was by Martin King, ex-Verulam School, Hertfordshire.

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