Supercooled Water Ice Balloon

Water is molten ice



Make an ice balloon. Fill a balloon with water and place it in the freezer for a day or two.

To Do and Notice

Take the balloon from the freezer and remove the rubber revealing a ball of ice.

Place a drop of water on an ice balloon and watch it freeze.

Place one drop of water on top of the ice ball.

Watch the water freeze.

Place several drops on to of the balloon at once, watch them freeze.

Let the water drops drip down the side of the ice ball, watch them flow, slow and freeze just like lava

What's Going On?

The balloon as it comes from the freezer is colder than the freezing temperature of water.

The room temperature water cools and since it is touching an ice crystal seed, the ice balloon itself, the liquid water freezes into a solid.

Notice also how water vapor in the air, humidity, freezes out onto the surface of the balloon as frost.

Notice the gas bubbles inside the balloon.

Notice how water vapor condensing onto the ice as frost sometimes show the ice crystals at the surface of the ice ball.


Going Further

A moon of Saturn, Enceledus, is thought to have volcanos with magma made of a mixture of ammonia and water. Fill the dropper with household cleaning ammonia and make drops of ammonia water on top of the ice ball. Watch the ammonia-water freeze. Keep dripping ammonia-water onto the ice balloon. Note the shape of the volcanos produced as the molten liquid freezes.


Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty

© 2006

2 December 2006