The illusion of Hot Ice

We love a science experiment that appears like a magic trick and this one is perfect for that. We’re going to find out how to make hot ice.

Imagine saying to people, ‘I can make hot ice!’ They wouldn’t believe you would they?

As far a science theory goes, they shouldn’t, we know that in order for ice to exist it has to be at 0 degrees and that once heated it would melt. However we can fool them into thinking we have made hot ice with this trick. First you have to set up the solution.

For this you need

1 litre of acetic acid (white vinegar)

4 tablespoons of Bicarbonate of Soda

You need a large bowl or saucepan to put the vinegar in and you need to add the bicarbonate of soda bit by bit until it all dissolves.

It will fizz as it is reacting, but if you add too much you will get the Volcano effect and you will lose all you solution over the side of the bowl. (You have now made a solution called Sodium Acetate) Once you have done this you now need to boil the solution so that it reduces down to about 100ml.

This is a slow process and on a medium heat takes about an hour. It is worth it though. Once you have it ready, pour into a jug and cover with cling film. Put it in the fridge to cool!

Once cooled you can then pretend it is water to your friends and pour it out onto a surface. It should begin to crystallise straight away and you can form towers of ‘ice’. It looks hot becasue it is what we call an exothermic reaction which means it gives out heat.

The illusion of hot ice, Science Sparks

The supercool liquid


How to make hot ice



How to make hot ice

Hot Ice!

The great thing is you can remelt the ‘icicles’  to reuse you when you want to perform the trick again! How cool is that?

Why does this happen?

The Sodium acetate exists as a supercool liquid in the fridge, that meaning that it is liquid form below its usual melting point, therefore as soon as you bring it into room temperature it and let it touch something warmer it will want to turn into a solid! You can see the crystals starting to form ‘ice’ towers up towards the jug!

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