ASK THE EXPERTS: How Long Does it Take for Ice Cubes to Freeze in an Ice Machine?
A watched ice tray never freezes. Okay, that’s not true. But sometimes it feels like forever, especially if you need ice cubes RIGHT NOW. So what’s going on? Why isn’t water freezing faster? How long does it take for ice cubes to freeze?
Under standard conditions, say your freezer, a simple 12-cube plastic tray will take around four hours from soaked to solid. Actually, it’s pretty fun to play around with partially frozen cubes. Give it a try! Some of the water is still liquid inside the cube, while the outside is frozen solid.
What about an ice machine? Well, the time it takes for ice to freeze can get a bit more complex.
Ice size and shape
The size of your cube, chip, pearl, whichever ice you enjoy, directly relates to the speed at which it freezes. The smaller the amount of water is, the faster it’ll freeze. We wrote a blog about directional freezing using a normal picnic cooler. You need to fill it up with water, store it in a freezer, and wait. Patiently. That will take you anywhere between a few hours to an entire day. That's because ice freezes from the outside in. More water means more to freeze. Thanks to molecular physics and the property of water, that just takes longer.
That’s why ice trays have dividers. Big machines have this too! Reducing the surface area of water drastically increases the time to freeze.
Container build material matters
Is an ice machine faster than an ice tray?
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