Tuesday Phase-Transition Blogging

More

Why does yesterday's salt-based beer chilling tip work? I'd assumed it was simply because the salt changed the melting point of the ice, allowing water to get colder than it normally does, but Midwest Product says there's more:

The presence of the salt does allow the water temperature to drop below 32 degrees, but this trick also works in part because the salt speeds up the melting of the ice. The phase transition from solid to liquid absorbs heat, which helps keep the water extra cold.

That's why calipygian's trick is related; it simply uses the transition from liquid to gas rather than from solid to liquid. Just like melting ice, evaporating water absorbs heat from its surroundings (in his example, the warm bottle).

Fascinating.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In