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Q & A: questions about freezing liquids

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Most recent answer: 06/05/2011
Q:
Hi i have a Science fair project and its due tomorrow! My topic is the freezing points of different liquids. Im going to freeze water, milk, and vinegar. Are those good choices? What do i pour them in and how long should i keep em in the freezer? Then i have to do a scientific method. And do you know any background research info on the freezing points of water, milk, and vinegar? What do you think would happen if i froze these liquids? And what would the problem be of this experiment like a question "how does_____?" Please help me!!!
- Jade (age 14)
California
A:
Jade- I suppose it's pointless to give a grouchy grown-up speech about starting projects sooner. For other people starting such projects, we do have some advice:

1. It makes sense to start with an actual question. As you do the experiments you may turn up something thing interesting that you weren't thinking about before, but it rarely works to just start fishing around with no goal. An example of what you might ask here would be how different things dissolved in water change its freezing temperature.

2. If your question was the one I just suggested, you could make some solutions of different amount of sugar and salt in water and see how that affected the freezing. You could also mix in different amounts of alcohol, or look at some plain white vinegar. Things like milk, wine vinegar, wine, etc. have too many different things in them, which makes it hard to keep track of which ones matter. Keep careful track of how much of what goes in each sample.

3. You should use the same sort of cup for each solution and fill each one to the same level, to keep the comparison fair.  Don't use glass, since it can sometimes break when water freezes in it.

4. I'm not sure how long you'll need to keep them in the freezer. It should be less than a day.

5. You should try to get some freezer thermometers so you can check the temperatures of the different samples as they start to freeze.

6. Check what's happening pretty often, and write down what you see.

7. Then see if you can make any sense of it.

Mike W.



(published on 06/05/2011)

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