Sunday, October 14, 2007

the ice experiment

A couple of weeks ago, out of curiosity, a few of my classmates decided to execute the long awaited, ice block piercing exp.

King Wei on the left, with Kok Hui who got the huge ass ice block.

The team that made this possible. Yeah right. Ironically, all of us chose to wear the f6 council t shirt on that day.

Setting it up.

Alright, i'll explain the basis or the science behind this experiment. I found a website give good short and concise reviews, without too much chemistry crap. Here it is,

Slicing ice
Follow these instructions to slice ice without splitting it and learn how pressure affects ice.

* What you need
* What to do
* What’s happening?

Can you think of a way to cut right through a big chunk of ice – without breaking it? It is possible, and we'll show you how!
What you need

To do this experiment you will need:

a large iceblock (freeze some water in a plastic bowl)
a length of flexible wire
two heavy weights
a narrow board
somewhere to perform the experiment – a bathtub is ideal.

What to do

1. Place the iceblock on a narrow board across the bathtub.
2. Attach a weight to each end of the wire.
3. Lay the wire across the top of the ice, with the two weights hanging down on either side.
4. Take a look every 30 minutes or so.

What’s happening?

The weight on the wire causes the ice to melt, just where the wire touches the ice. The wire will gradually cut down through the ice, but the ice will re-freeze above it. After a while your wire will be embedded well inside the block of ice. Eventually it will cut all the way down through the block – and yet the block will still be whole.

Pressure on ice lowers its melting point. So pressing on a particular area of ice will make only that part melt, and only briefly. Then the surrounding temperature of the ice will cause the melted ice to freeze again.

You can see this in action with ice-skates. All of your weight rests on the two thin steel blades of the skates. This great pressure causes the ice directly under the blade to melt. So the blade slips easily across the ice on a very thin layer of water. As soon as the skate moves away, the surrounding ice freezes that water again. If you tried to use ice-skates on a concrete skating rink, you wouldn’t get anywhere at all.

And so, as the instructions said, we place the wire with weights, (we used 1.5litre bottles as weights) across the ice block.

This is how we set it up. Look closely at the wire in the middle, resting on the mid of the ice.

Close-up view of the wire on the ice block.

And yes, we left it standing there for a couple a mins, oh wait, around 1/2 hour, at then ta-daaa, when we got back, the wire got embedded into the ice.

Look closely and you'll see that the sides of the wires on the block are already in.

And awhile more, the wire gets deeper inside.

Yeahh..... Doesn't take a genius to figure out that the wire eventually "pierced" through the whole ice block, yet the whole block was still intact.

And yeah, boys being boys, we tortured the ice block with foreign objects, such as

Wah kesian lah, and of course we left the best for the last bit, Kok Hui karate-chopped the ice....

Here's the video of it......

Yeah, typical boys lah. More events to come, on my next post.


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