Many have heard the "old wives tale" stating that if you put hot water into a freezer, it freezes in less time than it would have if it had been cold to start. Never did I believe such a claim, as it runs contrary to one of the basic laws of nature.
While surfing one day on sites illustrating "bad science" I actually found a plausible real life reason why this in fact can be true (read:not always true, but possible). Running this experiment under controlled conditions [eg. measure the same volumes of hot and cold water, make sure containers are equal in any relevant aspect (shape, material, conductance properties, covered or not etc.), and that the freezer is properly set to achieve a uniform temperature throughout], can you come up with a reasonable set of conditions for which the water in the hot container would freeze before the water in the cold container?
It would presumably have to consider a change in the freezing point of the water, by means of dissolved air or other considerations of the make up of the water, rather than having it cool off faster. Although initially a warmer tray of water would indeed lose heat faster, at some point it could only approach the temperature the initially cooler tray also achieved at that time. Once the warmer tray was essentially at the same temperature as the cooler tray, the only advantage that the warmer tray could have would be of composition, not a temperature difference.
Posted by Charlie
on 2003-05-11 05:27:04