Introduction: Cool a Drink in 2 Minutes

Picture of Cool a Drink in 2 Minutes

How to cool down a can of drink in 2 minutes. A simple science trick to give you a speedy ice cold beverage which won't get diluted like it would if you were to put ice cubes in your drink. Perfect for cooling beer and soda cans in an emergency, and you can even use it for chilling wine bottles.

Step 1: Getting Started

What you need:

  • A can of drink
  • A bowl
  • Ice cubes
  • Salt
  • A spoon
  • A thermometer (optional)

When you have everything you need, go ahead and follow the instructions or watch the video for a visual demonstration and full instructions.

Step 2: Set Up

Picture of Set Up

Take your bowl fill it with water until its roughly one third full. Then take some ice cubes from the freezer and tip them into the bowl. I used two trays of ice cubes.

Step 3: Chemical Reaction

Picture of Chemical Reaction

Next add a couple of table spoons of salt into the ice water and stir it in. As the salt dissolves into the water, it will actually disassociate into its constituent, sodium and chloride ions. Water molecules are polar, and each molecule has a partially positive and a partially negative charged end. The negative end attracts the positive sodium ion, and the positive end attracts the negative end. This process (known as solvation) requires energy which is obtained by reducing the thermal energy of the water, hence reducing the temperature of the salt ice-water mix. The ice will not only melt, but actually get colder!

Step 4: Cooling the Drink

Picture of Cooling the Drink

Once you've stirred in the salt, carefully place your drink into the solution and submerge it.

As the salt ice-water solution is so much colder then the room temperature drink, the heat energy in the can will be drawn out and the temperature of the drink inside the can will rapidly reduce.

Second law of thermodynamics states: Two substances with different temperatures reach thermal equilibrium over time.

After a minute give it all a good stir with a spoon and after 2 minutes its ready to take out. The temperature of your drink will have reduced significantly, and you can now enjoy a nice cold ice cold drink!

Step 5: Measure the Change

Picture of Measure the Change

If you like you can monitor the temperature change by checking the temperature of a room temperature can, and comparing it to the temperature of a can after its been cooled in the solution. I left the can in the solution for 2 minutes and found the temperature fell from 75°F (24°C) to 41°F (5°C) which is a reduction in temperature of 34°F or 19°C.

This science is not only a fun and practical way to quickly cool down your drink, but it can also be used for making home made ice-cream.


stephenmack (author)2015-04-11

I love doing this because of how much the salt speeds the process up!

maniacse (author)stephenmack2015-04-16

I just dont get reason of this ible, but then I read whole instructions, and as you mentioned, the rise of speed due using of salt is just perfect! Just basic knowledge put together and here we go.. Thanks to autor for this ible!

Zendo_Xarth (author)2015-04-06

What would have been neat is if you did the same thing in another bowl but did not use the salt to find out how much the salt helped cool the drink.

But still really cool.

gthompson20 is right. Though dissociation of salt does happen, but what actually make the salt water cooler is the ices absorb heat from surroundings in order to melt because its freezing point have reduced. The latent heat of melting of ice is HUGE compared to heat of dissociation of sodium chloride.

gthompson20 (author)Zendo_Xarth2015-04-07

That is absolute rubbish about the sodium and chlorine dissociating. They do no such thing the salt is just dissolved in the water turning it into salt water which has a freezing point of 0 deg F when the temp of the ice can be as high as 32 deg F

Since it has now been turned into salt water the latent heat of the fusion of the ice has to be replaced and it is absorbed from the surrounds. If my memory serves me right, from high school physics, this is how 0 deg F was originally defined

The same mechanism can be used to actually freeze pure water if isolated from the salt.

Dissociation of salt:

Good link.

The salt dissociation is neither an endothermic or exothermic reaction (it's a mechanical change, not a chemical one).

TL;DR : it 'costs' heat to melt ice. Since salt water freezes at a lower temperature, the now cooler salt water isn't starting to freeze in response to losing heat, so the heat exchange is faster, which means there is less time to absorb ambient heat from outside the system. short, everyone is right.

fourloupes (author)MultaeKappae2015-04-08

If you want the nitty gritty:

"Freezing point depression"

Same principle as salting roads

xmac1x (author)gthompson202015-04-08

You are mistaken. Sodium chloride does dissociate in water, hence why it is used to make electrolyte solutions. The ions are free to carry charges in the aqueous phase

discostu956 (author)gthompson202015-04-07

it's pretty well known that sodium chloride dissociates when it's dissolved in water.

gthompson20 (author)discostu9562015-04-07

Well it looks like my chemistry teacher was telly me a load of BS. It doesn't change the fact that 50 years ago this method was used in toy ice cream makers to obtain sub zero C temperatures, it is just rehashing what most people already know

bbabin (author)gthompson202015-04-07

And exactly how many Instructables have you contributed??? Right. That's what I thought. Honestly, there are more constructive ways to approach the apparent issue you have with this experiment. Please see the "be nice" comment policy shown every time you comment on others work.

thundrepance (author)bbabin2015-04-07

ditto. i look thru these for cool, fun ideas [like this one]. if i don't care for one, i simply move on.

it really doesn't make people heroes in the eyes of others to look thru these "instructibles" {how i think it should be spelled x^)} & bully nice folks, gt20.

Ray Jr (author)bbabin2015-04-07

^ I vote this ^^^ Thanks bbabin

laughingmoonx (author)2015-04-10

And it used to make the BEST ice cream in the world! Who cares how, if it works, it works!

szczech926 (author)2015-04-09

I find it works much quicker and cheaper by putting the drink into a glass and then the ice cubes into the glass

hmuckleroy (author)2015-04-07

I always just put it in the microwave and set the timer to a negative number.

DIY-Guy (author)hmuckleroy2015-04-08

HMuckleroy, Nice... negative numbers on the microwave timer.
Or, just set any timer to a negative number and let time run backwards until it's cool when you pull it out to drink.

DavidS40 (author)hmuckleroy2015-04-08

I can't believe I didn't think of this.

dave367 (author)2015-04-07

I love my Cooper Cooler for this, $30 retail at Home Depot: If you gently rotate the can/bottle, the transfer of heat happens much faster--and rotating, not shaking it won't make it fizz over on opening. I don't use ice in the Cooper Cooler, but still get 5 degree beer in 1 minute (in cans) or 3 minutes (if glass bottles) If you also added salt--or better add the rotational movement to the ice bath (no electrics to gum up with the salt!) you could halve the chilling times.

Then of course there's the Army way; soak a heavy sock in gasoline, drop in the can and sling it around your head for 60 seconds or so. ;-) (OK, OK, use water and sling it around for 3-4 minutes. You'll still get cold beer!)

hyperfocused72 (author)2015-04-07

There's a book simply called: Ice . It is extraordinary how much there is to know about frozen water.

almateus (author)2015-04-07


the reason why the temperature goes down is not because the salt is being solvated. Some salts, when you dissolve them in water, can make the temperature goe down, but that is not the case for sodium chloride. Just put a spoon of salt in water at room temperature and you will see. What is happening is that the ice is melting faster. To melt, it must get energy from the surroundings, and that is why the drink gets colder. Why does the ice melt faster? Becaus the melting point went down when you put the salt. Just like you put salt to melt snow in roads. This is not a chemical reaction. Trust me, I am a chemistry teacher. One link: "The salt lowers the freezing point of water through a process called freezing point depression. The ice starts to melt, making liquid water. Salt dissolves in the water, adding ions that increase the temperature at which the water could re-freeze. As the ice melts, energy is drawn from the water, making it colder. Salt is used in ice cream makers for this reason."

Raphango (author)almateus2015-04-07

Interesting! =D

ArizonaM (author)2015-04-07

funny, i ran into this years back in a recipe for nitroglycerin. it was used to keep the acid cool as you added the glycerin to it, tiny bits at a time. the details are a bit sketchy, but something about it having to stay below a certain temperature or things could go horribly wrong very quickly. i do remember it saying if it got above the specified temperature, red vapours started coming off of it and you'd have to dump the entire thing in a bucket of water to keep it from exploding or some shite like that. i never made any and the location of said recipe was lost through the ages.

itsjustmescotty (author)2015-04-07

READ this, it explain a LOT about the Farenheit scale his 0 wasn't Really 0 and his original high temp was 98 then everything changed to 32 and 212.

Max cold for salty water is -5.8F, not 0F

Porda (author)2015-04-07

Great instructable! I felt like I was watching an episode of Zoom.

shahrokhani (author)2015-04-07

Second law of thermodynamics states: Two substances with different temperatures reach thermal equilibrium over time...

I'm afraid this is zeroth law of thermodynamics which says:

if two bodies are in thermal equilibrium with a third body, they are also in thermal equilibrium with each other,or two bodies are in thermal equilibrium if
both have the same temperature reading even if they are not in contact



The first law of thermodynamics is simply an expression of the conservation of energy principle,and it asserts that energy is a thermodynamic property.



Second law of thermodynamics states:

It is impossible for any device that operates on a cycle to receive heat from a
single reservoir and produce a net amount of work(Kelvin–Planck statement)


It is impossible to construct a device that operates in a cycle and produces
no effect other than the transfer of heat from a lower-temperature body to a
higher-temperature body(Clausius statement)

harmonious1 (author)2015-04-07

Well that's how we USED to make ice cream.

curbdiver (author)2015-04-07

Spinning the container sideways in the bowl will cool the contents with out salt.
Salt should cool it faster.
I bought a machine at a yard sale that had a tray to hold the ice and a motor with a suction cup on the shaft to attach to the bottom of the can.
It would cool the contents without shaking it up by cooling the outside of the can as it sun around

Bowtie41 (author)2015-04-07

I've heard of this before but never tried it.Does it make the ice all melt down super fast?I was thinking of trying this with our coolers of drinks at family get-togethers.Anyone know how much salt would be needed for say,a cooler with 40lbs of ice?Thank You!

nanaverm (author)2015-04-07

This will be very helpful to cool down dinner leftovers quickly before refrigerating them. Thanks!

rickfmdj (author)2015-04-07

Very cool

ndube82 (author)2015-04-06

So cool

craftraptor (author)2015-04-06

Ah, I just love science.

patsheldon (author)2015-04-06

awesome idea to do in the classroom!

dimmaz88 (author)2015-04-06

Physics never fails to impress :)

alexei.pavlukov (author)2015-04-06


smorgsborg (author)2015-04-05

Nice work!

Stefano DV (author)2015-04-04

Really interesting. Thanks a lot for sharing.

About This Instructable



More by Dave Hax:Cool A Drink In 2 MinutesMatchbox MicrophoneHow Dish Soap Works - Water Surface Tension Experiment
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