Learn more physics!
Why does ice melt faster in water, than in air?
- Eric (age 10)
Riverside, Ca. USA
Excellent question, Eric.
First we need to know why ice melts. Ice is made up of water molecules stuck together in a regular pattern. The molecules of ice are cold, so they donít have enough energy to move around and break loose from that pattern.
We can give the molecules in the ice enough energy to break loose, or melt, if we bump other molecules into them, like from warm air or water.
Air is a gas, and so the molecules that make up air are very spread out. So air has fewer molecules to bump into the ice than water does. Water can melt the ice faster because it can bump more molecules into the ice to warm it up.
I hope this answers your question.
(published on 10/22/2007)
Follow-up on this answer.