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#1 2005-10-13 10:00:30

Math Guy
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The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

RAY: Last month, Tommy and I were driving home from the Annual Seat Cover Convention. We stopped for gas along the highway. While our tank was being filled, we went inside to buy ourselves some soft drinks. As we reached inside the fridge to grab our drinks the kid behind the counter-- you know, with the one with the six nose rings-- said, "That machine was on the blink yesterday, and everyone was complaining all day that their sodas weren't cold. So, before I put these sodas in this morning, I cranked that baby up! I turned the thermostat way down. Boy, those suckers ought to be real cold now! I won't get any complaints today, I bet."

Tommy opens his bottle and begins drinking the soda. But when I open my bottle, it was frozen solid. I complained.

What happened?

Note:  Please post what you think is correct here!

Last edited by Math Guy (2005-10-13 10:04:58)

#2 2005-10-13 16:24:56

justlookingforthemoment
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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

Your drink was touching the back of the fridge?

#3 2005-10-13 17:39:36

MathsIsFun

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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

I agree. Direct contact with the cooling surface will drag out the heat faster than a can in the cold air.

I would like for there to be an even "cooler" answer though

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

#4 2005-10-13 18:15:28

justlookingforthemoment
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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

Your cool drink was touching the back of the cold fridge?

#5 2005-10-13 18:42:56

MathsIsFun

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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

Then maybe this is even cooler:

Your frozen drink was touching the back of the sub-zero fridge?

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

#6 2005-10-13 21:37:50

justlookingforthemoment
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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

Or even

Your brrr frozen brrr drink was touching the brrrack of the sub-zero brr frfrfridge?

#7 2005-11-29 17:10:04

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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

I think you had a diet soda...there is something about the sugar in the regular sodas that would keep it from freezing as fast.  (maybe the other way around, but I think I'm right)

The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
-Bertrand Russell

#8 2005-11-29 22:26:33

mathsyperson
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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

Or maybe, because they were hot from yesterday, they took less time to freeze today.
It's a little-known and counter-intuitive fact that hot water freezes before cold water.

Why did the vector cross the road?
It wanted to be normal.

#9 2005-11-30 07:08:14

MathsIsFun

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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

mathsyperson wrote:

It's a little-known and counter-intuitive fact that hot water freezes before cold water.

Now I have heard that before, and still disagree. Possible Urban Myth?

Note for Posterity: Mathsy's current signature is "A man sent in 10 jokes to try to win his newspaper's pun competition.
Unfortunately, no pun in ten did."

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

#10 2005-11-30 08:59:00

mathsyperson
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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

You're acting like that ancient guy that said heavy objects fall faster than light ones.
"I don't need to actually do an experiment, I'll just blindly believe my instincts!"

Why did the vector cross the road?
It wanted to be normal.

#11 2005-11-30 11:55:55

irspow
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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

I couldn't resist this one.  Heavier objects do fall faster than lighter ones in many examples.  If two objects have the exact same shape and size but differ in density, the denser object will indeed fall faster.  Drop a full bottle of water and an empty bottle of water from the second floor of your home and this will be quite evident.  Only in a vaccuum do objects of different masses and shapes fall at the same rate.

Sadly, hot water does not freeze faster than cold water either.  Temperature difference does greatly affect the rate of heat transfer because of equilibrium laws, but at some point the temperature differences of the hot versus cold water would be at comparable rates and thus would be cooling at similar rates.  There could be an exception or rather "trick" in what you propose.  I could easily freeze say a gallon of boiling water faster than five gallons of 40 degree cold water.  This is because of the total energy within these samples.  And unless someone shows you equal volumes of ice after such an experiment the experiment is faulty.

#12 2005-12-01 01:18:09

mathsyperson
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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

How utterly boring. I hate it when cool myths like that get crushed by science. It's true, though. I did an experiment yesterday with a freezer and an ice cube tray and the cold water did indeed freeze first.

Why did the vector cross the road?
It wanted to be normal.

#13 2005-12-04 09:05:31

irspow
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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

I would like to throw mathsyperson a bone here for being a good sport.  I read an article proposing that the myth was indeed true.  An experiment was conducted where hotter water was made to freeze faster than cold water, but the conclusion made by most was false.  The final volumes were not the same.  What in fact did occur was that a smaller amount of hot water froze faster than a larger amount of cool water.  I'll pat myself on the back for suggesting this earlier.

So the myth is partly true, but it has nothing to do with temperature and everything to do with total energy.

#14 2005-12-04 15:47:46

MathsIsFun

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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

mathsyperson wrote:

I did an experiment yesterday with a freezer and an ice cube tray and the cold water did indeed freeze first.

Ahhh ... the basis of modern science.

Philosophically: we believe to be true all those things that can be observed by experiment.

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

#15 2005-12-07 08:02:42

Jims
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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

Would liquid in a plastic bottle freeze first or an aluminum can or what about glass?

Did they still have glass bottled soda "Last month"?

#16 2005-12-07 08:19:50

irspow
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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

Definitely Aluminum. Then glass (unless much thicker than the plastic in question). Then plastic.

#17 2005-12-07 08:44:49

mathsyperson
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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

This is all assuming that the outside environment is cold enough to freeze the liquid.
But yes, irspow is right. It's all about the heat conductivity of the materials.

And now, time to use people's quotes against them.

irspow wrote:

I couldn't resist this one.

irspow also wrote:

Drop... an empty bottle of water.

Why did the vector cross the road?
It wanted to be normal.

#18 2005-12-08 11:24:29

irspow
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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

Great!!! LOL!

The things that we punch into these keyboards in a frenzy.

#19 2005-12-14 10:46:20

Math Guy
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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

Sorry for the long wait in a reply, the answer was that one was a diet cola, and therefore it had a lower freezing point!

#20 2005-12-14 15:05:42

irspow
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Re: The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

Probably from the lack of sugar.  Easily disassociated compounds like sugar and salt tend to lower the freezing point of water.