Cool off and amaze your friends by making any soft drink or soda turn into a slushy on command. Here's how to do this fun and refreshing supercooled science project.
Instant Slushy Materials
- Soft drink
Any soda or soft drink works for this, but it works especially well with 16-ounce or 20-ounce carbonated soft drinks. It's also easiest to use a beverage in a plastic bottle.
If you don't have access to a freezer, you can use a large container of ice. Sprinkle salt on the ice to make it extra cold. Cover the bottle with the ice.
Make a Soda Drink Slushy
This is the same principle as supercooling water, except the product is more flavorful. Here's what you do with a carbonated soda, such as a bottle of cola:
- Start with a room temperature soda. You could use any temperature, but it's easy to get a handle on how long it takes to supercool the liquid if you know your approximate starting temperature.
- Shake up the bottle and place it in a freezer. Do not disturb the soda while it is chilling or else it will simply freeze.
- After about three to three and a half hours, carefully remove the bottle from the freezer. Each freezer is a little different, so you may need to adjust the time for your conditions.
- There are a couple of different ways to initiate freezing. You could open the cap to release pressure, reseal the bottle, and simply turn the soda upside down. This will cause it to freeze in the bottle. You could gently open the bottle, releasing pressure slowly, and pour the soda into a container, causing it to freeze into slush while you pour. Pour the drink over an ice cube to get it to freeze. Another option is to slowly pour the soda into a clean cup, keeping it liquified. Drop a piece of ice into the soda to initiate freezing. Here, you can watch the crystals form outward from the ice cube.
- Play with your food! Try other drinks to see what works best for you. Note that some alcoholic drinks don't work for this project because the alcohol lowers the freezing point too much. However, you can get this trick to work with beer and wine coolers.
You can make instant slush in cans, too, but it is a bit trickier because you can't see what is going on inside the can and the opening is smaller and harder to crack without jarring the liquid. Freeze the can and very gently crack the seal to open it. This method may take some finesse, but it works.
How Supercooling Works
Supercooling any liquid is chilling it below its normal freezing point without turning it into a solid. Although sodas and other soft drinks contain ingredients besides water, these impurities are dissolved in the water, so they don't provide nucleation points for crystallization. The added ingredients do lower the freezing point of water (freezing point depression), so you need a freezer that gets well below 0 degrees C or 32 degrees F. When you shake up a can of soda before freezing it, you're trying to eliminate any large bubbles that could act as sites for ice formation.