Pick up an ice cube using string

Pick up an ice cube using string

Picking up an ice cube with some string might seem like an impossible task but with the help of science, you can do it!

Here’s what you need:

  • Cube of water
  • Ice cubes
  • Piece of string or yarn
  • Salt

What to do:

1. Fill up your glass almost full of water.

2. Float the ice cubes on top

3. Try to use the string to pick up the ice cubes....you can't

4. Instead, lay the string on top of the ice cubes and sprinkle salt on top

5. Wait a minute or so

6. Pick up the string!

Why Does it Work?

Just using the string to pick up the ice cubes won’t work. You need the salt to make this magic happen!

Salt drops the freezing point of water. When you sprinkle the salt on the ice cube it drops the freezing point and forcing the ice cube to melt. A small pool of water begins to form on the top of the cube. As the salty water on top of the ice begins to mix with the freshwater and dilute, the freezing point of the water rises again and the ice will refreeze on the string allowing you to pick up the ice cube with the string!

Since salt can help ice melt quickly, you'll see road crews using it to treat snowy and icy conditions in the winter!

Take the experiment a step further....can sugar work? What about pepper?

Don’t forget to share your photos of you and your little ones trying these experiments on our WHIO Facebook page.