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Q & A: Drinking Super Cooled Water

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Most recent answer: 02/09/2012
Q:
What will happen to your internal organ if you drink a supercooled water and will it freeze as the water gets into the body?
- Mohd Adham (age 15)
Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
A:
The short answer is, not much.

It's not the easiest thing in the world to cool water much below its normal freezing point without it just freezing solid.  With the amount of impurities in average tap water or without a nicely smooth container water will freeze like normal. With filtered water, and a smooth glass, plastic, or metal container you can get it significantly below 0 C, as described by many of our readers. ()

Let's say you manage to pick up and begin to drink a glass of water that was cooled as much as -20C so that it starts to freeze when it contacts your mouth.  It takes less energy for water to be in solid form than liquid.   The energy difference between super cooled water and ice is called Latent Heat, and when released in the freezing process it will bring the temperature of the slush back up to around freezing point. It's because of that latent heat that the supercooled water only freezes to slush, not solid ice.

Just to be safe though, I would recommend keeping your beverages at or above freezing point.

Thanks for the question,
Mike Boehme

(published on 02/09/2012)

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