Hot ice

When crystals touch the liquid surface it rapidly starts freezing.

Scientific name: The super saturated solution of sodium acetate will crystallize instantly


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Wear eye protection goggles and gloves.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

CH3COONa3H2O(melt) → CH3COONa3H2O (solid)

Step-by-step instruction

  1. To perform this experiment you should prepare only one reagent - sodium acetate trihydrate. It is easy to obtain it from acetic acid solution (or vinegar) and sodium bicarbonate (or baking soda).
  2. Fill the beaker with sodium acetate trihydrate.
  3. Heat it in a water bath until it melts.
  4. Cool it down.
  5. Wait for about half an hour.
  6. To start freezing add some crystals of solid sodium acetate trihydrate to the supercooled liquid or touch the liquid with a stick.

Scientific background

Sodium acetate trihydrate is a white crystalline solid at room temperature. Its melting point is 58 °C. When sodium acetate trihydrate is heated in a water bath it melts. After this it is cooled down but the substance still exists in a liquid state. This phenomenon is called saturattion. This state is very unstable. When some kind of disturbance is introduced to the system sodium acetate trihydrate rapidly crystallizes and becomes solid.


Published on 12 March 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst