Why Does Hot Water Freeze Faster Than Cold?
Many years ago I had to take a day off School to travel down to Cambridge in order to be interviewed for a place on the Natural Sciences Tripos at Magdalene College. One of the questions I was asked was the following:
If you put a bucket of hot water and a bucket of cold water outside on a freezing cold day, which would freeze first?
I think I gave the right answer, which is that it’s not obvious..
My main argument was that evaporation would increase the rate of cooling of the hot water and also mean that when it did get down to freezing point there would be less of it to freeze. I attempted to work something out based on the heat capacity of liquid water versus the latent heat of freezing, but didn’t get very far with that as I couldn’t remember any numbers. I do…
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