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Science Fair Projects on How the Shape of an Ice Cube Affects Its Melting Time

Updated June 01, 2017

Students can conduct experiments to see if the shape of an object alters the melting rate. Shapes with less surface area melt slower. Frozen ice with the same volume of water but different shapes can be used to test this hypothesis. There are different types of projects to choose from, depending on the student's grade level and type of project needed.

Melting Ice in Different Shaped Containers

Conduct an experiment to determine if ice cubes with the same volume but different surface area have the same melting speed. Find three containers with different shapes that are able to take 1,000 millilitres of water. Make sure to label the containers with the dimensions. Pour 1,000 millilitres of water into each of the containers. Place the containers in the freezer for 12 hours. Remove the containers from the freezer and set a stopwatch. Observe the ice in the containers and record the melting time for each. Containers with less surface area will take longer to melt. Create a graph to illustrate the melting times in each container. Describe any differences.

Different Insulations

Perform an experiment to determine the effect of different insulating materials on the melting rate of ice. Get three different types of insulation, such as wood chips, cloth and fibreglass. Pour 250 millilitres of water into each of three containers and freeze the containers for 12 hours. Place the containers in a larger bowl or container. Place the insulation material in the spaces between the container with ice and larger bowl or container. Observe and record the melting times. Fibreglass is known to be a good insulator and is used in homes; therefore, the ice surrounded by the fibreglass should have the slowest melting time. Wood chips should have the quickest melting times since there are air pockets, allowing air or heat to pass through. Create a graph to illustrate and compare the different melting times.

Melting Ice With Different Shapes and Lids

Conduct an experiment to compare the melting rate of ice using different shaped containers and lids. Get three different shaped containers. Measure the dimensions and label the containers. Pour 500 millilitres of water into each container. Place the containers in the freezer for 12 hours. Take the ice out of the containers and place the ice on three plastic lids with the same size and shape in open air. Measure how much time it takes to melt each shape of ice using a stopwatch. Since the ice was removed from the container, the ice with the most surface area exposed to air should melt the fastest. Record results. Create a graph to compare results.

Different Melting Rates

Test to find out if frozen salt water or tap water melts at different rates and whether the shape matters. Get six different shaped containers. Measure the dimensions and label the containers. Pour 500 millilitres of water into each container. Place the containers in the freezer for 12 hours. Remove the ice from the containers and set the ice blocks out at room temperature. Observe and record the melting times using a stopwatch. Repeat the experiment three times for each container. Average out the melting times. Compare the results for differences between salt versus fresh water, as well as differences for the shape of the ice. The ice cube with the most surface area and salt water will melt the fastest. Salt lowers the freezing point of water, so the ice will also melt faster when the temperature is raised.