This Time Lapse of Ice Cream Melting is Totally Mesmerizing

 

With the sweltering summer heat now upon us, the video above is probably pretty relatable. Watch ice cream melt into technicolor puddles—and then reform, as the film rewinds. There's something very satisfying about watching melted vanilla get sucked back into its chocolate casing.

What's neat about these melted ice cream scoops is the amount of diversity in colors and textures. Each scoop has a different color syrup, sprinkles, and sometimes glitter. As the ice cream melts, it creates a marbled waterfall of sugary, glittery cream. 

So what's going on when ice cream melts? 

First, a high school science refresher. Whether something is a solid, liquid, or gas depends on how much energy it has. Water vapor has a lot of energy (molecules moving very fast and far apart), while ice has very little (molecules moving slowly and close together). Energy (heat) likes to travel to places where it's needed, so if you put an ice cube in the sun, it absorbs energy and eventually melts and becomes water. On the flip side, if you put water in a freezer, the energy leaves the water to enter the colder space and the water freezes. 

Why does ice cream melt differently? 

As you might have noticed while eating a Mr. Softee cone, regular ice cream melts much more quickly than ice. Ice cream has a lot of fat in it, which is what creates the tasty treat's richness, taste, and texture; it also plays a big role in how fast the ice cream will melt. Low-fat ice creams have a lot more water and therefore need to absorb a lot more energy before melting. 

It's also worth noting that ice cream is not frozen solid like ice cubes are. Sweeteners lower the freezing point and keep the substance from freezing into a hard block. As a result, the ice cream melts differently. Layers of melted cream slide off because it reacts more quickly to the heat. 

In case you were wondering: The song in the background is All There Is by Chrome Sparks.

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July 4, 2014 - 1:00pm
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