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Science Behind Tossing Boiling Water into Freezing Air


CIRCLEVILLE – With the polar vortex on Wednesday and Thursday blasting the arctic chill into the midwest we like most others wanted to see the hot water dissipate into cold air trick.  It was a great teaching moment for my children on why this happens.  One thing a lot of people don’t do to fully see this experiment happen is to color the water with food coloring so you can actually see the water turn into small balls and dissipate into steam.

Heres the science, no the boiling water is not “freezing in midair thats not what is happening.”  The white cloud is condensate, and shown better in this video as the cloud is not blue like the water from food coloring during the chemical reaction, what you are seeing is condensate, or water that has condensed into tiny droplets and the same reason you can see your breath outside during cold temperatures.  The air isn’t cold enough to freeze water immediately that happens at around -42 degrees, if it was that cold you would see snow thats how it happens.

Why boiling water vs regular water, well boiling water evaporates must faster than regular water, the amount of vapor actually increases with the heat.

Please if you do this remember not all the water will evaporate unless you use only around a cup or so and throw it pretty high in the air, so be careful tossing hot boiling water over your head, and pay attention to what way the wind is blowing no one wants a face-full of hot boiling water.
Helper was my son Hunter Newman.