Experiment - Why is ice more effective for cooling a drink than cold water?

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Cooling Drinks

  1. What is the specific latent heat of fusion of water?

Specific latent heat of fusion is the amount of heat absorbed or released by a substance when changing states. This could be boiling or melting.  Latent heat of fusion is the amount of energy needed to melt a substance, while latent heat of vaporisation is the amount of energy needed to boil a substance. The specific latent heat of fusion of water is 334 J/g

In the graph, you can see that as the temperature increases more energy is needed to heat the water. When the temperature hits the latent heat of fusion, the temperature stops rising as the energy is being used to change the state of water. This also happens when the latent heat of vaporisation

  1. What is the specific heat capacity of water?

The specific heat capacity is the amount of heat that is needed to raise the temperature of a substance. The specific heat capacity water is 4181 j/kg. This is higher than most metals. Here are some other substances with their specific heat capacity;

  1. Why energy is needed to melt ice and how this is explained by the structures of ice and water

The molecules of H20 behave differently in water than in ice. In water they are floating around freely and in ice they are "stationary", they only vibrate slowly. This is because they do not have enough energy to break their intermolecular bonds.

So in order to melt ice you need to add energy to give the molecules kinetic energy to move around, becoming less stationary. If enough energy is given to the molecules they break the intermolecular bonds and the ice melts to ice.

  1. Why is ice more effective for cooling a drink than cold water

The cooling of a drink with a cube of ice is more effective than using cold water because ice can absorbs a lot more heat. This is because it has a higher specific latent heat of fusion.

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  1. OCR Gateway GCSE Science Student Book


The greater the amount of ice that melts the bigger the temperature drop of the water

This is because when more ice melts more energy is taken from the water


  • 5 identical beakers which are made of the same materials
  • Thermometers with a suitable range; -10oC to 100oC
  • Measuring with volume above 200cm3
  • Top-pan balance reading with up to 35g
  • Ice (crushed), not straight form the freezer
  • Suitable insulating material
  • ...

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