Columns / Discourse / November 12, 2008

How long does it take ice cubes to melt?


I hypothesize that it will take anywhere from a couple minutes to a while for the frozen hydraulic crystalline specimens, i.e. “ice cubes,” to regress into the aqueous state. At least, I hope so. The bus leaves at eight.


As there is relatively little literature on my topic available, my experimental studies relied heavily on field experience. From my findings, I can determine that the amount of time it takes for my orange pop to taste gross is less than half an hour. Also, it takes at least half an hour after I fill up the ice cube tray before I can enjoy a refreshingly chilled beverage. Using this evidence, I have calculated the above estimates.


Step 1: Collect hydrogen dioxide sample from local dispenser.

Step 2: Fill one (1) experimental tray with sample. Two (2) if the laboratory has the resources. The second tray may also be filled with an array of different liquids so that a tasty post-experimental treat may be enjoyed later.

Step 3: Place the experimental tray(s) into your preferred refrigeration device. Make sure that this step is completed slowly, so that your supervisor does not yell about experimental fluids on the floor.

Step 4: Wait for any length of time until the liquids congeal or whatever. The waiting time may be utilized to increase your cultural awareness by viewing programming on audiovisual equipment, preparing the outfit to be worn on the day of presenting the experimental results, or gluing together a presentation, that, let’s face it, will not be fooling anyone.

Step 5: Remove the experimental tray from the refrigeration device.

Step 6: Smack the back of the tray. If this does not remove the samples, pound the tray on the countertop. Get those little guys out of there.

Step 7: Locate the stopwatch function on any nearby cellular telephonic apparatus. Press “OK.” Or “Send” sometimes.

Step 8: Time the melting process.

Step 9: Collect the data when your supervisor screams about how if the bus is missed, she will not be driving to school yet again. But she will. You know she will.


It takes a really long time for ice cubes to melt. In about twenty minutes (I have to estimate because I got a text message in the middle of the experiment) these ice cubes had not shown any significant melting progress. I did everything. I held them in my hand, I turned the thermostat up to 84 degrees, I breathed on them a lot… nothing.


From the data I have collected, I am forced to conclude that ice cubes do not melt. This is surprising, I know, but the more I think about it, the more obvious I think this inevitable conclusion should have been. I mean, there’s ice everywhere. At the North Pole and in Antarctica, the ice sticks around forever. Yes, it tends to get pretty chilly there, but in the grand cosmic scheme of things, a temperature change of even a thousand degrees Fahrenheit is trivial. If ice could melt, we would be taking trips to Antarctica Water Fun Zone instead of Florida. When we put ice cubes in our drinks, do we even consider the acidity levels and corrugating elements present in our beverages? A wedding ring would dissolve in those concoctions, let alone something made of water. Also, haven’t you ever been to the mall in April? When it hasn’t snowed in months and there’s still huge heaps of cold, black snow on the edges of the parking lot? No wonder this experiment has never before been conducted. Big Ice wants to keep everybody in the dark.

Further Inquiry

Under what specific conditions will ice continue to not melt? Do popsicles also never melt? What beef does ice have with me, not melting when I want it to, and always melting when I don’t want it to?

I never made it to the science fair.

Rachel Perez

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