Hot Ice is a substance which has the appearance of frozen water but instead of being cold, produces heat. The substance is commonly found in reusable heat pads for muscular pain but it can be used more creative purposes such as sculpting. It produces heat because the crystallisation process is an exothermic reaction. Hot Ice is chemically known as sodium acetate and this is required to produce Hot Ice; however it is possible to make sodium acetate from simply kitchen products.
1 Litre of White Vinegar
4 Tablespoons of Baking Powder
A Glass or Container
Step 1 – Pour the white vinegar into the saucepan and slowly add the baking powder. If the baking powder is added too quickly, the reaction will create a volcano effect and pour out of the pan.
Once completely mixed, the content of the pan is diluted sodium acetate. The chemical reaction between the white vinegar and the baking powder creates sodium acetate, water and carbon dioxide.
Step 2 – Now most of the water must be evaporated, so leave the pan on a medium heat until a crystalline surface starts to appear on top of the solution. Once this appears remove from the heat.
Step 3 – Pour the solution into the glass or container making sure that there are no crystals in the solution. If there are, simply add some water and stir until it is dissolved. Then put the glass into the fridge for thirty minutes.
Step 4 – Now remove the glass from the fridge. The Hot Ice is now completely ready. To start the reaction, simply touch the solution with a finger and sodium acetate will begin to crystallise. As the crystallisation is an exothermic reaction, the finished block will produce heat.
It is also possible to do this using sodium acetate directly, simply by adding it to water, therefore bypassing Step 1. Sodium acetate is easily available online.
Sodium acetate or Hot Ice can be used for creative purposes too. Simply pour some of the solution into a shallow dish and begin the crystallisation process by touching it. Then pour the solution slowly from the glass on top of the dish and the crystallisation will occur upwards, creating towers of Hot Ice or forming a frozen waterfall effect into the glass.
The great thing about Hot Ice is that it can be reused simply by dissolving it in water and performing the steps over again. Whether it is for demonstrations or art work, Hot Ice is a fun and easy home chemistry experiment that everyone will enjoy.