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Mariah's avatar

Help me solve a household mystery!

Asked by Mariah (19101 points ) September 3rd, 2012

Okay this has my head spinning. I have one of those mini fridges with a teeny tiny freezer. The only thing I currently have in my freezer is an ice tray, 6×2. I filled it up with water about a week ago and stuck it in and forgot about it.

Today I wanted ice and went and got the ice tray. There was ice in all of the cubes except one. Not melty, but nicely, solidly, frozen. The one that wasn’t was not even a tiny bit frozen; it was pure water.

The one that wasn’t frozen wasn’t on an extreme end of the tray. It was 1 from the end, with frozen ice cubes on five sides around it.

My roommate has been away all weekend, so no shenanigans have occurred.

How the heck did this happen?

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17 Answers

Tachys's avatar

Possibly, when the tray was washed or filled, some sort of contaminant got in there and changed the freezing point. Just a guess.

DaphneT's avatar

Fascinating! Perhaps the freezer portion has a warm point just right there. I say this because I’ve never heard that those mini freezers freeze if you want the refrigerator portion to fridge. It’s usually reported as a case of all-or-nothing.

bkcunningham's avatar

The two things I thought of were the contamination like @Tachys suggested or one of the condensing coils isn’t working in that one particular spot and is warm, which is what I think @DaphneT is saying. Hhhmmm Strange.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
ninja_man's avatar

How pure was the water you were putting in it? Did the water freeze when it was agitated? It is possible for water to reach freezing temperature, but not change into its solid state. I doubt this happened in your mini fridge, but it was the first thing that came to mind.

Mariah's avatar

@ninja_man It was tap water. It didn’t freeze or do anything interesting when I dumped it out.

Seems like @Tachys might have it. That did occur to me. The worst part is I’ll probably never know! The tray is back in there now, refilled, so I’ll make sure to check and see if this happens again.

bkcunningham's avatar

Read this and tell me what you think.

I was going to see if I could find something that doesn’t freeze. What could contaminate the the one cube so it doesn’t freeze? In my search I found supercooling.

Mariah's avatar

@bkcunningham, a mixture of water an something else always has a lower freezing point than pure water, so just about anything mixed in there could have caused this. Thanks for your input.

Judi's avatar

Edit: just realized this was in general and my silly answer wasn’t appropriate.

flutherother's avatar

Could salt have got into that compartment? Water freezes at 0C but a completely saturated solution of salt water freezes at -21C which is colder than most freezers.

wundayatta's avatar

Seriously, it was aliens. You should not have moderated that comment about the source of the melting ice just because your pea-brain moderation doesn’t know shit. How much evidence do I have to provide? And why don’t you make everyone else provide evidence? I see at least 8 comments with no links in them to anything, and yet you moderate mine because it sounds ridiculous? This is the kind of stupid thinking that has set back science for thousands of years.

It doesn’t matter how ridiculous an idea sounds to you. It doesn’t matter whether the author even believes it or not. What matters is if it could be true, and you can’t prove that aliens didn’t do it, and I can make an argument that what was going on inside her fridge is equivalent to what goes on in Antarctica, only on a much smaller scale.

What if I’m right? What if it is aliens? What if she does need defumigation? And you moderated the comment? You have to let comments stand, no matter how ridiculous you think they are, just in case. These are researchers from Columbia, Montreal and other legitimate research entities talking about the melting of alien sea ice. You, in your great moderatorly wisdom, with you education of what? Do you even have a BA? From where? Know all about it and dismiss it like that? Puhleeze! You guys are jokes! You don’t even do your homework. When are you going to learn that just because my avatar is an ass, doesn’t mean my thinking comes out my ass? Stop moderating me when you don’t know what you are talking about (which seems to be most of the time).

Judi's avatar

@Wundy, I self moderated my ghost theory. I didn’t read your alien theory but I’m assuming they thought it was in jest and the question is in general. I wouldn’t take it personally.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It’s possible that cube was supercooled and stayed liquid, but when you moved it it should change to ice. I’ve left bottled water outside in the Winter, and the water stays a liquid, even though it’s well below the freezing point. As long as nothing disturbs it it stays as a liquid. But as soon as I move it, the ice line will move right down the bottle until it’s completely solid. It’s pretty cool. Try it sometime.

wundayatta's avatar

@Judi You haven’t been moderated as much as I have, lately. They may think things are in jest, but that is no excuse to moderate them. Much truth is said in jest. They don’t know what they don’t know, and they never even think they don’t know everything. The moderators around here have been taking down a lot of my stuff, and for really vague and tendentious reasons. It is really annoying me and they seem to be targeting me, since I never had this problem before. I am getting moderated at least once a week now, and as I said, for very slim excuses. I never had much respect for moderation as done here, but now I have little respect for the moderators, even if the one I really disapproved of is no longer moderating. That person may be looking good in retrospect.

Mariah's avatar

You guys! It happened again! Except this time, four compartments remained unfrozen (still in the middle of the ice tray). AND…when I went to pour them out, they froze! So they’re supercooling after all! Ahhhh, so fucking cool (no pun intended)!

I wonder what this says about my tap water….

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Mariah It isn’t your water. It’s your ice tray.It must be super smooth. There’s nothing for the ice crystals to form around. This also happens with superheating water in the microwave in a new cup. Then when you throw the spoon in it goes wild.

ninja_man's avatar

@Mariah Well, to be fair it does have to do with water purity as well. If there were any impurities they would have acted as nuclei around which crystals would have formed. At least that is what I got out of this.

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