Does putting salt in ice make it colder?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by dutch oven, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. dutch oven

    dutch oven

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    I saw a show on this once- can someone explain the principle to me?
     
  2. thecytochromec

    thecytochromec

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    Salting ice is abusing a property called "colligative properties". Salting ice does not make it "colder". Salting ice lowers the freezing point of water. Since there are charged atoms called "ions" in salt, these ions interfere with the normal attractive forces in water. In other words, its hard for the water to sit still and hang onto eachother (freeze) with all of these pesky, yet beatifully beneficial, ions in the way. So, if you don't want ice on your bridge, salt it. Salt will lower the freezing point, which means that it will have to be colder to make it freeze.
     
  3. thecytochromec

    thecytochromec

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    Also, while I have my soap box handy, colligative properties are used ubiquitously in the kitchen. Brines have high osmotic pressure allowing us to facilitate ion transfer (salting) and, when properly equilibrated, retains more moisture than salting something on the exterior. Same thing with pickling and so on and so on. I must also add that the colligative properties are directly proportional to the number of ions present not the weight of solute added. Please keep in mind that salting your water will not raise the temperature at which it boils significantly. I recall calculating it to be an extremely large amount of salt to raise the boiling point of water by 1*C.
     
     
  4. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, it makes it colder. It's the whole concept behind salt in the ice for older ice cream makers.

    It's all about the phase change of ice to water.  This is not itself a temperature change. Water at 32 degrees can be both solid (ice) or liquid. Liquid is just a higher energy state than ice. Salt forces the phase change in ice. Since the ice is becoming water, this phase change has a certain energy gain associated with it. Normally, this occurs at the speed that heat from the room is absorbed into the ice. But salt forces the issue.

    So the energy for the phase change must come from somewhere. In this case, it comes from the ice itself. The ice gives off it's own very low heat to the water that formed from the ice. In giving this heat (energy) to the water, the ice becomes colder.

    Liquid water is a higher energy state matter than ice. It will usually be the same temperature as the ice it formed from until it gains or loses more energy itself.
     
  5. dutch oven

    dutch oven

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    Thank you for an excellent explanation.  Does the salt also make the ice more dense?
     
  6. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    No, it doesn't make the ice more dense. That's more of a factor of how much dissolved air there is in the water and  the method of freezing and so on.

    In fact, freezing water tends to force the salt out of the water and is one method considered for de-salination. But it's pretty high energy so works best in cold climes so you can use the ambient temps for free as it were.
     
  7. dutch oven

    dutch oven

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    Thanks Phatch
     
  8. Iceman

    Iceman

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    OK. So this guy Fahrenheit is making this temperature guide/gage.  He takes normal plain water and freezes it.  He then starts adding salt (ammonium chloride) to the water turning it into brine, while watching the temperature guide/gage go down.  By-the-way ... he doesn't have any number scale on this guide/gage yet.  He keep adding salt, and the temp keeps going down, until it stops.  The salty water freezes. No more salt changes anything.  He then tags this temperature with the degree number "0".  It all goes up from there.  How?  I don't know.  I stopped reading at that point.  It was my appointment time.  That particular science comic wasn't there the next time I had an appointment. 
     
  9. dutch oven

    dutch oven

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    Salt makes the ice colder
     
  10. highlander01

    highlander01

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    I have to disagree ... salt doesn't make ice colder ... the salt does however dissolve the ice and allow the water to get to lower temps before it freezes ... as for making ice cream I think the biggest advantage that the salt gives you is surface area, the more surface area you have the quicker your ice cream base will become cold and solidify, but putting ice in a bucket with salt doesn't make it colder at least to the best of my knowledge.
     
  11. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    What purpose does lowering the freezing point of the water around the ice cream serve?  That doesn't change anything inside the ice cream churn.

    Ah, I think we're saying the same thing in different ways. By forcing the water out of the ice into a salted slush, the water can absorb more energy out of the ice and still not freeze, thus lowering the temperature of the system as a whole  and speed up the transfer of heat out of the churn.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  12. french fries

    french fries

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    I believe it makes the temperature of the water (therefore the inside of the ice cream churn) drop while keeping the water in a liquid state (which is much more efficient to lower the temp of the ice cream). 

    I worked in a restaurant and they used that technique to quickly cool down bottles in a pinch: put in a bucket with water, ice and salt. 
     
  13. dutch oven

    dutch oven

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    Ice cream is dense
     
  14. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    The salt we're talking isn't ammonium chloride, but sodium chloride.  While salt does lower the freezing point of water that doesn't have a great deal to do with what's at work in the churn.  You need to start reading comic books with more of a culinary focus.  
    No as to dropping the temperature of the water.  The temperature of ice doesn't drop when you put salt on it.  Besides, we're not trying to lower the temperature of the ice.  We're trying to lower the temperature of the base inside the churn.  If salt -- by itself -- made the difference you thought it did, we'd all be eating salty ice cream.  But... 

    Yes as to efficiency. 
    Damn close, but not quite there. 

    At least you're talking about speeding up the transfer of heat.  But (1) You can't force water out of ice; and (2) Besides the normal processes of energy transfer to the environment and entropy the temperature of the system as a whole is NOT lowered.  The temperature of the system as a whole remains the same, but the temperature of the different parts of the system change as the system comes into equilibrium. 

    ____________________________________

    Anyone who cares should go to Wiki or some other basic science site and look up the concepts of Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics and latent fusion.

    Just as a sort of practical quick and dirty... the Zeroth (prounounced zero - ith) Law of Thermodynamics says that when a hotter thing touches a colder thing, the hotter thing transfers energy to the colder thing and the hotter thing gets colder while the colder thing gets warmer.  Salting the ice in an ice cream churn allows the icy slush to absorb heat energy (through the walls of the churn's container) from the base more efficiently.  

    So, the next question...
    The faster the base goes from liquid to solid, the better textured (fewer and smaller ice crystals) the ice cream.  That's why -- with most churns -- it's a good idea to get the base as cold as possible before putting it in the churn. 

    Hope this clarifies,

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  15. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    x
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  16. thecytochromec

    thecytochromec

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    Agreed with FF. Salt will facilitate in melting the ice. The whole idea is that you take a solid at its freezing point and convert to a liquid as close to its freezing point as possible. The  effect upon your icy bucket is that your water is in the liquid state at a lower temperature than if it were pure. This works towards your advantage in making ice cream because a liquid will cover more surface area of the container than the odds, edges and flat surfaces of solid ice cubes. This will give a more uniform temperature along the surface of the container.

    Now, most importantly, salting and ice/water bath will lower the temperature. I said earlier in this thread that it would not, I didn't think it would be very measurable. I was wrong. The reason why it makes it colder is that the dissolving of salt in water is endothermic. This means it absorbs energy in the form of heat, making that liquid colder. This is due to the fact that ions are breaking hydrogen-bonds in water which requires energy. "Where does this energy come from to break those hydrogen-bonds?" - Good question, it comes from intrinsic thermal energy simply by the object existing at a temperature above absolute zero.

    I'll be the first to cite a reference: http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/solutions/faq/why-salt-cools-icewater.shtml
     
  17. thecytochromec

    thecytochromec

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    This is not what the 0th law of thermodynamics states. You might be confusing it with the 1st law of thermodynamics. The 0th law of thermodynamic states if A is in equilibrium with B and B in equilibrium with C then A must be in equilibrium with C. You can find this by wikipedia.
     
  18. dutch oven

    dutch oven

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    That's the transitive property.
     
  19. Iceman

    Iceman

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    I always thought that the "transitive property" was all the grassy area around the train and bus stations. 

    Fahrenheit


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Fahrenheit proposed his temperature scale in 1724, basing it on three reference points of temperature. In his initial scale (which is not the final Fahrenheit scale), the zero point is determined by placing the thermometer in brine: he used a mixture of ice, water, and ammonium chloride, a salt, at a 1:1:1 ratio. This is a frigorific mixture which stabilizes its temperature automatically: that stable temperature was defined as 0 °F (−17.78 °C). The second point, at 32 degrees, was a mixture of ice and water without the ammonium chloride at a 1:1 ratio. The third point, 96 degrees, was approximately the human body temperature, then called "blood-heat".

    LOL.   In regards to the comic books I used to read ... HEY, we're talking over 40-years ago here. Little kids sometimes gotta just take what they're given. 
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  20. dutch oven

    dutch oven

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    That's the transient property....