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How To Make Instant Snow from Boiling Water

Cool Water Science Tricks

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If the temperature is cold enough, you can make snow yourself!

A snow cannon works on a similar principle, except chemical agents often are added to help the water crystallize.

Zefram, Creative Commons License

It's incredibly easy to make instant snow from boiling water. Sound impossible? Here's how to do this literally cool science water trick.

Materials

Basically, you only need two things:
  • freshly boiled water
  • really cold outdoor temperature
By really cold, you're looking for around -30°F.

Let's Make Instant Snow!

Simply toss a cupful or pot of boiling water into the air. It's important that the water be as close to boiling and the outside air be as cold as possible. The effect is less spectacular or won't work as the water temperature drops below 200°F or the air temperature warms past -25°F.

Be safe and protect your hands from splashes. Also, don't throw the water toward people. If it is sufficiently cold, there shouldn't be a problem, but if your concept of the temperature is mistaken, you'll burn your friend. Be safe.

How It Works

Boiling water is water that is at the point of changing from liquid water into water vapor. It has the same vapor pressure as the air around it, so it has all kinds of surface area, which you can expose to a freezing temperature. The high surface area means it's much easier to freeze the water than if it was a liquid ball. It's why it is easier to freeze a thin layer of water than a glass of water. It's also the reason you'd freeze to death more slowly curled up into a ball than spread eagle in the snow.

If you want to see boiling water turn into snow, there is a YouTube video made by The Weather Channel that shows what to expect.

Learn More

Water Science Magic Tricks
How To Make Snow with a Pressure Washer
Warm Outside? Make Fake Snow!

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