Clear Ice

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How Fast Does Ice Melt? Why Crystal Clear Ice is the Crystal Clear Choice

Have you ever watched an ice cube melt? Have you wondered if you could change how fast ice melts? And more importantly, does that melting rate impact your enjoyment of the beverages that you pay for?  

We’re going to make an educated guess: you do not like watered-down drinks. They taste worse and feel like you’re drinking flavored water. It’s not the best. But we’re here to say you deserve better. Instead of that cloudy ice that melts too fast, you deserve crystal clear ice that melts slowly as you sip. 

In this blog, we’re going to cover why ice melts in the first place, what influences the speed of melting, and how you can enjoy crystal clear ice from the comfort of your home or business.

Why does ice melt?

Ice melts above zero degrees Celsius, or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. You can bend that rule a little bit, but in most cases, that’s the energy threshold for ice to melt.

By absorbing heat, water transitions from a solid to a liquid. If you keep raising the temperature to its boiling point, water shifts from a liquid to a gas. That’s common knowledge, but it’s fun to think about!  

Picture your kitchen table. Plop an ice cube down and wait. It’ll take a bit, but soon you’ll have a little pool of water. The same thing happens if you refrigerate an ice cube! Just slower. The rate at which ice melts is directly related to the temperature of the environment around it. To us, the term “environment” is key. In your kitchen, an ice cube is surrounded by air, a gas. What if you submerge it in water? Does it melt faster or slower? The answer’s dependent on a few different variables: 

  • The shape and overall mass of the ice cube
  • How much air or water is around the ice cube
  • The impurities trapped within the ice cube

How fast does clear ice melt?

Everything about clear ice is slow. And that’s just the way we like it. It’s why commercial ice machines have such big buckets of ice to scoop from! It’s always making more. 

Clear ice is clear because it’s built of fewer, larger crystals. Larger crystals mean a different mouthfeel and a slower time to melt. It’s just water in there, chilling in your beverage.

This is our favorite thing about clear ice: it melts slower than cloudy ice! Since there is no gas trying to get out of clear ice, your ice takes longer to shift back into a liquid. Your customers never have to worry about watered-down drinks again. Perfectly chilled sips, no matter what.

How fast does cloudy ice melt?

Speed over quality. Cloudy ice is the result of many smaller crystals, which refract visible light and appear cloudy. That freeze speed traps naturally occurring minerals, organic matter, and gases in the middle of the ice cube.

When that ice cube melts, all of the impurities trapped within are trying to get out faster. There’s more distance between the impurities and smaller ice crystals than the big crystals in a clear ice cube. More space for air means a faster time to melt. 

That means a rushed, watered-down drink for you at home or for your customers. 

Here’s a weird fact about cloudy ice cubes: they shrink! Sublimation, when a solid evaporates to a gas, causes the ice cubes to shrink in size. This doesn’t happen with crystal ice in a commercial ice machine.

How can I get clear ice anytime I want?

Hey, if you prefer cloudy ice over clear, that’s fine. You do you, friend! However, our customers keep coming back to us for two reasons: 1. We treat them with respect and like they’re members of our family and 2. Because they love crystal clear ice. 

You can enjoy crystal clear ice anytime you want, and this is the machine to do it: The self-contained cube ice machine from our partners at Ice-O-Matic.

Contact one of our technicians to learn more!

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