What shape of ice cube melts the fastest?

Not all cylinders and rectangular cubes are created equal. Disks such as tuna cans may hold a similar volume of liquid to soup cans, but one cylinder is short and fat, whereas the other is tall and skinny. If two such cylinders were frozen blocks of ice, which would melt quicker?

My 13 year old daughter measured one cup of water into several containers to create different shaped blocks of ice with equal volume.

 Once the blocks were frozen, she took some measurements and calculated their surface areas.

 Next, she set the ice cubes on plates and waited while they melted.

While waiting, she periodically weighed and measured the ice.

She kept track of the results to see which shape melted quickest. Her conclusion was that the melting rate varied according to surface area.

 This was a relatively simple and straight forward science fair experiment, but perfect for my daughter. Following the scientific method, she was able to record data, calculate volumes and draw a conclusion based on her results.

1 comment:

  1. Great! Speed of the melting of ice cubes mostly depends on the surface area which relative to their volume. So In general, rounder shapes melt more slowly than flatter shapes do.
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