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Updated March 17, 2007 

BC Science 9 Videos

Supercooled Water

Movie Run Time: 1:07

It is possible to lower the temperature of a liquid below the point at which it freezes, without it actually freezing. This interesting phenomenon is known as supercooling. When a liquid freezes, it turns to a solid, but this involves the process of crystallization. In order for crystals to form, a nucleus (such as piece of dust or a rough surface) or a seed crystal is required for the crystallization process to begin.

When very pure water is kept in a very smooth container, it can be cooled below its freezing point without crystallizing, because there is no place for crystals to start forming. The following is an excellent demonstration of this - a supercooled bottle of water is poured into a glass container. Watch what happens!

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Supercooled Water in a Tube

Movie Run Time: 0:09

This great little video dramatically demonstrates supercooling and rapid crystallization.

Some videos are hosted on 3rd party websites. McGraw-Hill Ryerson is not responsible for the content of those websites.

Further Information

Supercooling - this page very carefully explains the phenomenon over supercooling.

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