What happens when you throw boiling water into freezing air?

What happens when you throw boiling water into freezing air?

It’s currently -15ºF here in the Chicago area and I was excited to take advantage of the cold. This might be part of the side effects of going stir crazy, but I’ve been thinking about everything and anything I can freeze outside that will produce something interesting.

I saw a video of this on Reddit last month and I thought, if it got cold enough here, I would try it. Well, that day has clearly arrived. This morning I threw on a pot of water, brought it to a rapid boil and had Fran AKA my trusty sidekick throw the water into the air.


The side door of our house is raised, so he was already higher up when he tossed the water. You can do this standing on the ground, but it works better if you’re standing on higher ground, giving the water a chance to change completely before it hits the ground.


When you toss the water in the air, it creates a larger surface area which turns the water into cool droplets.


In extremely cold temperatures like today, these droplets freeze, turning the boiling water into a cloud of ice crystals in midair.

How cool is that? If you’re stuck inside on a freezing day like we are today, you can still have fun experimenting!

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Filed under: science, winter

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