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Q & A: Why is ice sticky?

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Most recent answer: 05/19/2008
Q:
why is very cold ice sticky?
- poboks (age 32)
manila,philippines
A:
Let's look at a scenario - your tongue sticks to a very cold popsicle.  The cold from the popsicle causes the water on the surface of your tongue to freeze into ice, which sticks your tongue and the popsicle together.  The same thing happens any time something very cold touches something with moisture on it.  The interesting part is that if you touch something dry to a very cold item, there's no water to freeze, so nothing happens!

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

Follow-Up #1: Do not touch dry ice

Q:
So why is dry ice so dangerous to touch?
- David
Sydney, Australia
A:
Because it is so cold.  At -78.5 oC it can freeze your skin very quickly.   Always wear gloves when handling dry ice.

LeeH

(published on 05/19/2008)

Follow-up on this answer.