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Q & A: particles in thawed water

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Most recent answer: 09/16/2012
Q:
We completely froze an unopened bottle of Evian (1.5L) in a freezer overnight. Next morning we took it along on a road trip of about 8 hours early September from Hatteras to central Va. When we arrived in central Va the Evian water was thawed and had light colored particles suspended throughout the liquid. At that moment we decided not to drink it. What were those particles? We looked at other bottles in the pantry that were from the same package and never had been frozen and saw no particulate matter even after shaking.
- Chris (age 59)
Roseland, VA, USA
A:
We can't, of course, know for sure what was in that particular water bottle. However, Evian water is supposed to have a variety of mineral salts. If it slowly freezes, those salts will be excluded from the ice, forming denser solutions. If it gets cold enough, some of the calcium salts etc. will start to get so dense that they crystallize. Once they crystallize, it may take a long time to  go back into solution. It's possible there are some other compounds in there so that the flakes are not just mineral salts, and they may even be stable.What happened to that bottle in the long run? What happens if you freeze another bottle the same way?

Mike W.

(published on 09/16/2012)

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