Instant Slushy How-To

Supercool Any Soft Drink or Soda into Instant Slush

Slushy green drink
Lew Robertson, Getty Images

Cool off and amaze your friends by making any soft drink or soda turn into a slushy on command. Here's how to do this fun and refreshing supercooled science project.

Instant Slushy Materials

  • soft drink
  • freezer

Any soda or soft drink works for this. The slushy project works especially well with 16-oz or 20-oz carbonated soft drinks, since the fizz fluffs up the ice. It's also easiest to use a plastic bottle.

If you don't have access to a freezer, you can use a large container of ice. Sprinkle salt on the ice to help make it extra-cold. Cover the bottle with the ice. This is an example of freezing point depression. It's a great technique for freezing chocolate milk into ice cream on a tabletop, too.

Procedure

This is the same principle as supercooling water, except the product is more flavorful. Here's what you do with a carbonated soda, such as a bottle of cola:

  1. Start with a room temperature soda. You could use any temperature, but it's easy to get a handle on how long it takes to supercool the liquid if you know your approximate starting temperature.
  2. Shake up the bottle and place it in a freezer. Do not disturb the soda while it is chilling or else it will simply freeze.
  3. After about 3 to 3-1/2 hours, carefully remove the bottle from the freezer. Each freezer is a little different, so you may need to adjust the time for your conditions.
  1. You have a couple of different ways to initiate freezing. You could open the cap to release pressure, reseal the bottle, and simply turn the soda upside down, causing it to freeze in the bottle. You could gently open the bottle, releasing pressure slowly, and pour the soda into a container, causing it to freeze into slush while you pour. Pour the drink onto an ice cube to get it to freeze from the ice cube back toward the bottle. Another option is to slowly pour the soda into a clean cup, keeping it liquid. Drop a piece of ice into the soda to initiate freezing. Here you can watch the crystals form outward from the ice cube.
  1. Play with your food! Try other drinks to see what works best for you. Note some alcoholic drinks don't work for this project because the alcohol lowers the freezing point too much. However, you can get the trick to work with beer and coolers.

A Word about Cans

You can make instant slush in cans, too, but it is a bit trickier because you can't see what is going on inside the can and the opening is smaller and harder to open without jarring the liquid. Freeze the can and very gently crack the seal to open it. It may take some finesse, but it works, too.

How It Works

Supercooling any liquid is chilling it below its normal freezing point, without turning it into a solid. Although sodas and other soft drinks contain ingredients besides water, these 'impurities' are dissolved in the water, so they don't provide nucleation points for crystallization. The added ingredients do lower the freezing point of water (freezing point depression), so you need a freezer that gets well below 0°C or 32°F. When you shake up a can of soda before freezing it, you're trying to eliminate any large bubbles that could act as sites for ice formation.

Fun Projects To Try

Make Ice Cream in a Plastic Baggie
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream
Homemade Dippin' Dots

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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Instant Slushy How-To." ThoughtCo, Mar. 7, 2017, thoughtco.com/instant-slushy-how-to-606424. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, March 7). Instant Slushy How-To. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/instant-slushy-how-to-606424 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Instant Slushy How-To." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/instant-slushy-how-to-606424 (accessed December 15, 2017).