Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 28

Thread: Okay - a Winter experiment and a bit of a rant!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Posts
    35,297

    Okay - a Winter experiment and a bit of a rant!

    You've all seen, I am sure, on Facebook and other places, the little meme that ges around each winter about how fun and easy it is to make "Christmas Decorations" by filling balloons with water and food coloring, setting them out to freeze and peeling off the balloon and "ta-da!" a lovely thing that looks like a transparent glass ball, brightly colored, emerges.

    I figured yesterday would be the perfect time to finally try this - balloons obtained, and below-zero temperatures expected, nice snowbanks to rest the balloon in so I don;t end up with a flat bottom to it ...

    No one tells you the following:

    1. Finding normal balloons can be frustration - I finally discovered some in a back corner of CVS after checking supermarkets, convenience stores, etc.

    2. Filling the balloon with colored water is actually tricky. I figured, "Water, then add the food coloring" - bad idea, as once I dis-attached the balloon from the faucet, of course the water wants to escape from it, not let any food coloring in!

    Pause to clean kitchen, the red-tinged water hit the counters, floor, coffee maker, sink, and cabinets. How it missed my mostly white shirt I will never know. And yes, it takes extra cleaner - 409 works - to clean up without leaving everything tinged pink.

    3. Try again, add food coloring to the empty balloon, then water. Did not fill as much as it could be, fearing a more explosive repeat of result #2.

    4. Set balloon in snowbank. Snow is below freezing by definition, right? Wait a couple hours. It's dang cold out, this should work. I used cold water from the sink. Check - maybe an eight of an inch is frozen, which collapses when I poke it.

    5. Wait overnight, and into the next afternoon. Notice I had some air in the balloon, so will end up with a flat spot anyway.

    It is still not frozen solid! And this is a small balloon - maybe filled to a 4 inch diameter! And I checked, it has been below freezing all day, and was even down to -4F last night for a while!

    How long is this gonna take?

    As with all those "craft projects" touted as simple and fun, this has been not simple, nor quick, and we will see if fun actually even happens!

    I'll keep you posted.
    I've Been Frosted

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Rhode Island; USA
    Posts
    16,490
    Oh goodness, thought those sorts of things only happened for me!

    I AM surprised it has not frozen, what physics law is THAT?!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Copenhagen, Denmark - GMT+1
    Posts
    14,667
    Karen, there's gotta be something in the food coloring that won't freeze - next thing to do is study chemistry. LOL!

    Can't wait to see the result!

    Btw, years ago when I was feeding stray cats in the yard, I was advised to put a tiny bit of salt in the water, so it wouldn't freeze. Could it be that there's salt in it?
    Randi



    "I don't know which weapons will be used in the third World war, but in the fourth, it will be sticks and stones" --- Albert Einstein.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Posts
    35,297
    It is in the process of freezing, but there was still a liquid care - maybe an inch or so of the water was frozen. There's no salt in the food coloring, there is a bit of propylene glycol in it, but the food coloring itself is mostly water, and there's maybe 6 drops of it in over a quart (I'm guessing) of water!
    I've Been Frosted

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    22,051
    I tried those balloons. Not a good idea. A lot of mess and all I got was a few tiny colored ice balls out of it!

    Forever in my heart...Lacey,Sassy,Mandy,Corey,Ginger,Casey

  6. #6
    A couple of thoughts:

    Slight impurities can have a significant effect on the freezing point of water, and your tap water isn't pure by any stretch of the imagination.

    Snow is insulation, so the part of the balloon that's in the snow isn't getting the ambient air temp.

    Water expands as it freezes, and in the expansion creates gas pockets (insulation).
    The one eyed man in the kingdom of the blind wasn't king, he was stoned for seeing light.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Posts
    35,297
    Well, tomorrow I will try taking the rubber/plastic off of it! And yeah, I didn't bother to use the bottled water for this so, I supposed impurities could be the cause. I'll take a picture of the unwrapped result, in any case.

    Tomorrow is predicted to be above freezing, but I doubt that'll have much effect either way!
    I've Been Frosted

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    20,287
    I remember seeing this and wondered how they got the balloons to be as big as they were. Garden hose attached to sink = more water pressure?

    Bring 'em up here - they'd freeze in about 5 minutes today, I swear!

    Looking forward to seeing results.
    "Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life that you don't need to escape from." -- Seth Godin

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    577
    I don't think I would've tried this experiment, I'm not very good at doing stuff like that anyway. Let us know if it finally freezes and words, then you can send us a picture, good luck Karen.


    "Happy is the home with at least one cat" - Italian Proverb

    Every life should have nine cats. – Anonymous

    "I've been frosted."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Posts
    35,297
    Took the balloon off today, but as it was above freezing, there was some melting, that got on our hands - stuck in in the freezer - tomorrow's gonna be warm out, but when the tempos go back below freezing Tuesday, I'll take a picture during the day!
    I've Been Frosted

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Off-Planet: Usually Vulcan ;)
    Posts
    11,156
    This sounds like something I'd do LOL There are plenty of DIY projects involving fish tanks that ARE SO TIME CONSUMING and FRUSTRATING and plain just not work. LOL I have never tried this but now I don't think I will. Does it at least look pretty?
    Mikey - [Pug/Beagle Mix] Spock and T'Stala - [Hermit Crabs] Rest in Peace, Bo. I love you - [African Cawed Frog] Bo II - [Guppy] Buzz - [VT Male Betta] Chippewa - [BT Male Betta]
    "Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Posts
    35,297
    Quote Originally Posted by Alysser View Post
    This sounds like something I'd do LOL There are plenty of DIY projects involving fish tanks that ARE SO TIME CONSUMING and FRUSTRATING and plain just not work. LOL I have never tried this but now I don't think I will. Does it at least look pretty?
    I'll take a picture of it Tuesday, when it'll be well below freezing again and I can take one out side! It looks interesting, at any rate!
    I've Been Frosted

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    Posts
    5,282
    Karen ~ Good luck!
    I once spent a week making ice luminaries to line our driveway for our annual Christmas party. Bobcat laughed at me the whole time.
    They looked great. This isn't our photo, but they turned out something like this:

    The night before the party, I took them out of our deep freeze and set them out on the deck. Figured they'd be safe, after all it was December in Alaska, right?
    Around midnight, a Chinook (warm winter wind) came down from the mountains. Bobcat felt bad about laughing at me when we awoke to find them melted down to nothing.
    Ask your vet about microchipping. ~~ It could have saved Kuhio's life. And it cost Halo hers. Consider having your cat tested for Polycystic kidney disease ~~ Rest in peace Willy
    Loved by Lisa

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Posts
    35,297
    Quote Originally Posted by kuhio98 View Post
    Karen ~ Good luck!
    I once spent a week making ice luminaries to line our driveway for our annual Christmas party. Bobcat laughed at me the whole time.
    They looked great. This isn't our photo, but they turned out something like this:

    The night before the party, I took them out of our deep freeze and set them out on the deck. Figured they'd be safe, after all it was December in Alaska, right?
    Around midnight, a Chinook (warm winter wind) came down from the mountains. Bobcat felt bad about laughing at me when we awoke to find them melted down to nothing.
    Aww, well, those look lovely, and I sure yours were every bit as pretty! I, being a born and bred New Englander, I am well accustomed to not being able to count of the weather remain any particular way for long! But I imagine you were quite surprised!
    I've Been Frosted

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Posts
    35,297
    Okay, here are the "result pictures" - more of an interesting experiment than a beautiful ornament, as you can tell:

    Here's a close-up, resting on a paper plate from when I brought it inside a few days ago, just set it on that and stuck it in the freezer after I took off the outer balloon:



    Then a bit further away from it so you can start to see the odd pattern of the food coloring versus clearer water:



    When I went to put it down, I dropped it - hence the mark on the show to the right, then dropped some birdseed on it. The stray red bits of stuff in the snow are actually from the fruit of the tree, not the balloon experiment, by the way.



    And from furthest away, you can see the odd almost colorless stripe - note that I could not have done that on purpose if I tried - just squirted some food coloring into the balloon then added tap water all at once.



    Not exactly the "easy, pretty decoration" promised by the people who post it on Facebook and the like! And I know it will make a mess as it melts, which is why I set it on the snow, to be able to see the pattern as it spreads ...
    I've Been Frosted

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Copyright © 2001-2013 Pet of the Day.com