# Ice melting

## Main Question or Discussion Point

Hello
I was wondering:
in which enviroment ice will be melt faster, air or water?
I ahd argue with my friend recently, we needed Ice and he put it in pot with moderately cold water. Since we were outside and temperature was normal, about 17-18 Cel degree I said it will melt faster in water, but he claimed that it will melt faster in normal air.
It was too long to wait and we used all ice so we didn't experiment. I wonder who was right and what "scientific" explanation would be.
Thanks

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russ_watters
Mentor
Since water is denser than air, it carries more heat and thus will melt ice faster (given the same relative amount of convection).

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
I have another way of answer this in addition to what russ has said.

Strip yourself naked and walk into a room that has an air temperature of 50 F. Now compare that when you jump into water that is also at 50 F. In which one do you think you will feel cold faster?

Zz.

Pythagorean
Gold Member
ZapperZ said:
I have another way of answer this in addition to what russ has said.

Strip yourself naked and walk into a room that has an air temperature of 50 F. Now compare that when you jump into water that is also at 50 F. In which one do you think you will feel cold faster?

Zz.
I assume the water would feel colder. I agree that water will melt ice faster (more intuitively than by method), but when I dip my finger in a cup that's been sitting in a room for a while, it always feels colder.

But then... I hear humans are terrible thermometers.

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Pythagorean said:
I assume the water would feel colder. I agree that water will melt ice faster (more intuitively than by method), but when I dip my finger in a cup that's been sitting in a room for a while, it always feels colder.

But then... I hear humans are terrible thermometers.
While humans are not good in giving absolute values, they are good at COMPARING between things. This is what I was trying to do. Water is a better "conductor" of heat than air. In fact, air is pretty much an insulator. That's what you often use to keep warm (or cool).

Zz.

russ_watters
Mentor
To elaborate, the human sense of temperature depends more on the rate of heat conduction than absolute temperature, which is why a room temperature piece of wood feels warmer than a room temperature piece of metal - and also why if you strip yourself naked, you'll feel colder in 50 degree water than in 50 degree air.

Mk
Why would I strip myself naked and jump in 50 degree F water anyway? Or 50K? Or 50C? Now that would be mildly unplesant!

Danger
Gold Member
Mk said:
Why would I strip myself naked and jump in 50 degree F water anyway? Or 50K? Or 50C? Now that would be mildly unplesant!
Wimp!.....