The Best Way to Melt Ice WIthout Heat

Ice melts in warm temperatures.
••• Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Water freezes into ice at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). The most common way to melt ice is to simply raise the temperature above the freezing point. However, this method is not always practical. When achieving high temperatures is not possible, consider other ways to coax ice into melting.

Chemical Reactions

At the freezing point, the rate at which water melts is the same as the rate at which it freezes. During this freezing and melting process, some water molecules are frozen while others melt, replacing each other in a state of equilibrium. But when another material, such as salt, is added to the mixture, the equilibrium is disrupted. The rate of melting remains the same, but the salt gets in the way of the water molecules that would be freezing, therefore lowering the rate of freezing. Salt is an effective deterrent to freezing down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Other compounds and chemicals can be used to melt ice. Calcium chloride, sodium chloride and laundry detergent are very effective. Bleach is reported to work the fastest when poured onto ice.

Pressure

When water freezes into ice, it forms a crystal structure that takes up more space than it did as liquid water. Applying pressure to ice will crush the crystal structure and lower the melting point of the water. A large amount of pressure is required to make a difference, as at twice atmospheric pressure, the melting point is only reduced by 0.007 degrees Celsius. Ice skates are a famous example of pressure melting ice. The thin skate places the weight of the skater on a small area, melting the ice directly under the skate. This forms a thin surface of water that the skater glides over. Once the pressure is removed from the spot, it refreezes back to ice. Forming a snowball works the same way. As you tightly pack the snow together, it partially melts. Once you release the pressure, the snowball freezes together and retains its shape. An experiment sometimes performed involves a large block of ice. A piano wire is hung over the ice with heavy weights on both sides. The wire will slowly move through the block of ice by melting the ice directly below it. As it falls, the water above the wire will refreeze back in place, until the wire goes completely through the ice block.

Related Articles

Extract Your Own DNA and More With These Awesome Science...
How to Cool a Can of Soda in Ice Water & Salt
Melting Temperature of Aluminum Foil
Difference Between Chemical and Physical Weathering
Forms of Mechanical Weathering
What Happens When a Glacier Melts?
How Does Salt Melt Ice?
Homemade Ice Keeper Science Project
Magic Science Tricks for Kids
How to Make Easy Dry Ice
The Effects of Salt on Ice Cubes
Experiments With Salt and Sugar Ice Cubes
Substances That Affect the Rate of Melting Ice
Three Ways That Polarity of Water Molecules Affect...
How to Mix Calcium Chloride and Water
How Does Weathering and Temperature Affect Rocks?
How to Pressure Cook Great Northern Beans
Ice Cubes Melting Process
How to Make Egg Launchers
How to Make a Supersaturated Solution
The Difference Between Glacier Ice & Sea Pack Ice