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What Happens When an Ice Lolly Melts?

Updated July 20, 2017

It happens to the best of us: We pull a fresh ice lolly or Popsicle from the freezer, walk outside on a hot summer day and look down. The Popsicle is melting already. How this reaction occurs is a complex scientific process. You can learn how the process works and how to prevent it from happening before you have a chance to eat your ice lolly.

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How Ice Lollies Freeze

Fill up a container with liquid and stick it in the freezer. After a while (depending on the amount of liquid) the contents will be entirely solid. That process is how we get ice lollies. When the temperature is cold, the water molecules slow down until they stop moving entirely. The molecules line up in neat, orderly rows. They stick together to create the solid block of ice.

How They Melt

The same process occurs in reverse when an ice lolly heats up. The molecules of water, which are absorbing the heat, speed up their movement, which breaks apart the bonds and turns the ice back into a liquid. The hotter it is, the faster this process occurs.

What Will Happen?

If you are holding your ice lolly or Popsicle by a wooden stick, the coloured ice will likely start to melt down your arm, leaving a sticky path. If you make your own ice lollies at home, you can buy special holders that will catch the melting lolly for you to sip up later.

How to Prevent Melting

If you don't want your ice lolly to melt before you are ready, you can try one of two methods. Either eat the Popsicle very quickly, allowing it to melt with the heat of your mouth, not the heat of the temperature outside, or eat your lolly in a very cool room. The rate of melting in a cooler environment will slow down and give you more time to enjoy the cold treat.

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About the Author

Amy Spiro has been a journalist and freelance writer based mostly in New York City since 2008. She has been published in "The Jerusalem Post," "The Jewish Week" newspaper, "New York Family" magazine, the "Washington Square News" and online at Baking and Mistaking. She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and politics from New York University, and a certification in baking and pastry arts from The Jerusalem Culinary Institute.

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