Amazing Alaska: How come Hot Chocolate freezes so quickly in the air?

At the end of November, our Military team headed to Alaska to spread the word about Tutor.com for Military Families. While we were there we found a lot of things that were unusual to us cheechakos (an Alaskan word for newcomers). Like why does the sun set at 3:47? Why do we need to carry static clings in our clothes? The list goes on and on! So, when we got back we asked a few of our tutors to help explain the science of it all. Here’s what we found out!

Question #2:   Why does Hot Chocolate freeze in the air when thrown in -40 degree weather? [Physics & Chemistry]

Answer:  -40 degrees is significantly lower than the freezing temperature of water.  At this temperature water molecules freeze very quickly – unless they are close together.  When the hot chocolate is in a glass, the molecules are close together and have less contact with freezing temperatures. When it is thrown into the air, however, the molecules separate causing them to be in contact with the cold Alaskan air.  When this happens, the molecules freeze quickly – before they even reach the ground!

 

freeze in the air

View the full session transcript here.

Session Note:  Session is between a Tutor.com employee and a Tutor.com science tutor and was used with permission.  Student sessions are kept private and will not be made public.

 

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