What Shape Ice Cube Melts The Slowest?

One thing that you might have never paid any kind of attention to before, but you are now, is an ice cube melting.

Have you ever watched an ice cube melt before? This is quite the process, it is where water contracts and then expands as it freezes and melts.

You might have noticed that the ice cubes in drinks will melt faster if they are one shape opposed to another.

Or, you might be wondering if it actually makes a difference what shape the ice cube is.

The thing is, the surface area of an ice cube takes on heat from the room and, assuming that the room temperature is above freezing, then the ice will subsequently melt.

We are going to uncover just how you can make an ice cube melt faster, along with how you can make an ice cube melt more slowly.

So, what are you waiting for?! Read on for all things ice-related.

To Answer This Question…

Well, this is a pretty science-based question, but we will keep the answer as straightforward as we can.

The truth is, the speed that an ice cube melts at is all due to the shape of the ice cube.

Let’s break this down. The shape of a rectangular ice cube is the flattest and therefore has the most surface area.

So, this in turn means that the heat will be absorbed over a much larger surface area and therefore the ice cube will melt faster.

The truth is, a crescent shaped ice cube will melt the slowest.

In actual fact, the larger the surface area of the ice cube then the more heat said ice cube will absorb.

The thing with the spherical ice cube is that it will melt the slowest because it will have the least surface area.

What Is Ice?

When we break down what exactly ice is, then it can be easier to understand what shaped ice cube will melt the slowest.

So, ice is the solid form that liquid water takes when it is cooled below 0 degrees celsius.

Ice actually melts due to the chemical properties of water, and there are more hydrogen bonds between the molecules of ice than there are in water.

The process of ice melting is all to do with its temperature.

Ice begins to melt when its temperature exceeds 0 degrees celsius, and the hydrogen bonds between the water molecules will begin to break.

Now, we can move on to thinking about the chemical structure of ice. Well, an ice or water molecule consists of two hydrogen atoms which covalently bond to one oxygen atom.

These atoms actually share electrons, which causes the oxygen atom to carry a slightly negative electric charge.

This is all while the hydrogen atoms are slightly positive, and this will in turn result in a polar molecule.

Due to this polarity, water molecules are attracted to each other and they then form hydrogen bonds between molecules.

What Is The Difference Between Water And Ice?

The difference between water and ice is all to do with the hydrogen bonds. In truth, the hydrogen bonds between hydrogen and oxygen atoms are a lot weaker than covalent bonds. They have control on the physical properties of water and of ice.

So, water molecules are hydrogen bonded more strongly to each other in ice than in liquid water. In ice the molecules are actually a lot more separated, which in turn causes ice to be a lot less dense in comparison to water.

melting ice cubes

Why Does Ice Melt?

This is going back to a more scientific discussion.

Ice melts when heat energy causes the molecules to move faster, and this breaks the hydrogen bonds between molecules to form liquid water.

So, in the melting process the water molecules actually work hard to absorb the energy. This is why an ice cube melts much more quickly on its outside and retains its coldness and solidity a lot longer at the center.

Melting is in effect a cooling process. As more heat gets introduced, then the ice will continue to melt.

If the temperature exceeds the boiling point, which is approximately 100 degrees celsius, then more hydrogen bonds between water molecules will break completely and this will create a water vapor.

When it comes to ice melting, there are other factors that can have an impact on how the ice cube melts.

The addition of foreign substances, which can be salt or which can be chemical particles, will actually melt the ice a lot faster.

This is because these foreign substances upset the balance of the melting and of the freezing process.

So, this means that the more foreign particles on its surface then, the fewer water molecules the ice can capture. This in turn works to slow down the freezing process.

For instance, salt is used to melt ice on the sidewalk or on roadways because it is cheap and highly accessible. This is not because it is more effective in comparison to other substances.

In fact, even sugar can have an effect on the freezing process. When a solute such as sugar is added then the freezing point will inevitably change.

The sugar molecules work to prevent the water from making hydrogen bonds, and these are required for solidity. So, the water has to become even colder before it can reach its freezing point.

Does The Shape Of An Ice Cube Really Affect How Fast It Melts?

Ice will melt when a warm medium, such as air or water at room temperature comes into contact with its surface.

So, for this very reason, ice will end up melting faster when its exposed surface area is absolutely maximized. This means that ice cube shapes with greater surface areas will melt faster.

Does The Color Of An Ice Cube Have An Effect On How Fast It Melts?

Here’s the thing, a dark-colored ice cube will absorb more light and it will melt faster than an ice cube that is light-colored.

This will not change the speed at which the ice cube will melt all that much, however, it could have an impact on what temperature the ice cube will begin to melt at.

Do Different Drinks Have An Effect On The Speed At Which An Ice Cube Melts?

Well, in terms of putting an ice cube in your drink, the main way that this would have any kind of effect on the rate of which your ice cube melts is if your drink is cold or hot.

If you put an ice cube in a hot drink, then naturally it will melt a lot quicker. However, if you put an ice cube in a cold drink then this will slow down the melting process – but your ice cube will still melt in this drink when it climates to the temperature of the room.

The only way that you would be able to stop your ice cube melting in your drink would be if you kept it in your freezer. Your drink being at room temperature would encourage the melting process to occur.

The liquid that can actually melt ice the fastest is water, be it at room temperature or be it boiling hot water.

Overall, as an answer to the question, a crescent shaped ice cube will melt the slowest due to it having a much smaller surface area.