back to article Just in time for summer boozing: Boffins smash world record for the most perfect ice cubes

An international team of chemists has set the new record for crafting near-perfect cubic ice crystals. Sadly, the ice cubes are so small, they are invisible to the naked eye. This is according to a study in The Journal of Physical Chemistry. It might sound trivial, but it is an extremely difficult task – one that involves …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me


    I can make ice cubes in the shape of the Death Star - way cooler (!!!) and visible with the naked eye to boot !!!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: so Desperation

    So if they get the cubic versions big enough to be visible, are they going to keep my margarita from melting as fast?

    1. edge_e

      Re: so Desperation


      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: so Desperation


        Which is why I use the plastic freeze-them-in-the-freezer ice thingies. They don't water down the drinks.

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge

          Re: so Desperation

          >Which is why I use the plastic freeze-them-in-the-freezer ice thingies. They don't water down the drinks.

          Same here, though, I never let ice spoil the beverage when out and about ;-)

          Grabs coat, checks Psion, crap, not Friday, yet ... puts coat back and returns to cubicle.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is ice slippery? It isn't a liquid - unless it momentarily melts with friction. Made of hexagons one might have expected a relatively rough molecular surface?

    1. edge_e

      Apparently it is a liquid, well a thin layer on the surface is.

    2. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Feynman, Why is ice slippery?

  4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    The more we find out, the less we find we know.

    I also remember reading how ice and water generally has some of the weirdest properties of pretty much anything. Make water a solid and it gets larger not smaller and thats just the tip of the iceberg...Ah. I'll get my coat.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yellow Ice.

    That is all.

    1. earl grey Silver badge

      Watch out where the huskies go

      You'll have more than yellow ice.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    That's a -48c super cooling. Astonishing. Possibly with major effects on climate models

    So small crystals may have a very large impact on human understanding.

  7. FozzyBear Silver badge

    as long as it doesn't detract from the scotch I'm drinking I"m fine with it.

    He says knowing he will probably start a war on the benefits of ice / no ice with scotch.

    Oh well start your engines!

    1. vir Silver badge

      Ice Wars

      You can't put ice in scotch! YOU WILL REGRET THIS!

      That said, which fruits are acceptable to put in a Pimm's cup? Cucumbers and...?

      1. John 110

        Re: Ice Wars

        "You can't put ice in scotch!"

        Not in a proper single malt you can't, but it enhances a crappy scotch (you know who you are...) and makes it almost drinkable.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Ice Wars

          Not in a proper single malt you can't, but it enhances a crappy scotch (you know who you are...) and makes it almost drinkable.

          Life is too short to drink bad whisky. Especially bad whiskey.

          (Who was it said that US whiskey is called sippin' whiskey because only a fool takes more than a sip?)

      2. Tom 38 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Ice Wars

        Cucumber, orange, borage and mint. No-one objects to some whole raspberries and strawberry slices, best to save limes for the mojitos. I disapprove of apple in Pims because it doesn't soak up enough booze

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      I've heard it both ways, and another interesting addition of just a few drops of water. Something reacting something... I'm no chemist.

      Scotch on the rocks is for people who drink it a lot and a lot of it. I prefer only one per evening. Just like only one glass of Champagne... Too much of a good thing ruins it..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "[...] and another interesting addition of just a few drops of water."

        In school physics we were taught that two equal volumes of liquids occupy twice the space. Later on we were told that an exception is alcohol and water. Their molecules fit together to occupy less than their expected space. It is very difficult to distil pure alcohol because of their affinity for each other.

        Apparently adding water to an alcoholic drink makes the human body absorb it more effectively. A watered down drink makes you drunk faster.

        Antifreeze (glycol) is interesting. As you mix it with water the freezing point decreases - until a critical point is reached after which it increases. This an example of a eutectic curve.

        It seems that for every real world rule of physics - there is always a limiting case where it no longer applies.

  8. Adam 1 Silver badge

    any true chemist would know ...

    ...that the secret to the perfect ice cube is to refine it in a water container with some special mix that contains barley, hops and yeast.

    1. collinsl

      Re: any true chemist would know ...

      You don't put ice in beer! Beer should be drunk at cellar temperature!

  9. gandalfcn

    most perfect

    There is no such thing as "most perfect" is there?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: most perfect

      I suppose you could say 'closest to perfect', it's a gray area I think.

      1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

        Re: most perfect

        In this case it is not a range of perfection that is being stipulated, but an amount relative to other efforts. The scientists created more examples or a greater percentage of perfect ice cubes than previous groups have.

    2. John 110

      Re: most perfect

      Maybe a mixture with some mixtures having more perfect cubes than others?

  10. ratfox Silver badge

    an important process that could improve climate change models

    I've read too many papers with the word could thrown about. Sometimes, they even use could potentially, and then you know it's even more far-fetched.

    1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      "could improve climate change models"

      = Not a hope of improving climate change models but I would like a research grant to check this.

  11. Roj Blake Silver badge

    "to probe the atomic structure of the droplets"

    I'm pretty sure that's not what they were doing.

    In this case atoms, molecules and crystals are all different things.

    And x-ray diffraction isn't great at probing atomic structure anyway.

  12. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge


    I hope that they don't accidentally make ice9

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Whoops! - I hope that they don't accidentally make ice9

      I assumed that was the sole purpose of the experiment. One way to fix AGW for good.

  13. Tom 38 Silver badge

    First time I saw a moon dog

    I'm a rational man. I follow the scientific method. However, the first time I saw a moon dog, with a full moon centred within a giant glowing ring, like a giant cosmic eye staring directly at me - I completely understand how people believed in gods.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: First time I saw a moon dog

      On recent nights there has been a clear sky with a brilliant full moon. Looking at it with the naked eye - I marvel that some ancients made the leap to proving it was an enormous orbiting sphere a long way off,

  14. Hugh Pumphrey

    Halos from cubic ice? Rly?

    You write:

    "Scientists think cubic ice may be responsible for creating light halos that are sometimes visible around the Sun, as the sunlight is reflected from the clouds."

    Most haloes are caused by refraction rather than reflection. Although it is true that a very rare halo display seen in Chile has been explained by the presence of cubic crystals (see ) , most of them (including all the ones in your picture) can be explained by ordinary hexagonal ice. Readers who want to waste a LOT of time looking at pretty pictures of haloes can head over to

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of...

    ... that super clear ice in a mountain lake, from a video doing the rounds a couple of years back.

    I had some ice like that some years ago in a fridge at work, a whole big block that was like perfect glass. Most impressive!

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: Reminds me of...

      For clear ice, (if memory serves) the trick is to freeze it slowly, like around 0 to -1 Celsius. This gives the ice crystals (hexagonal) a chance push the air out of solution, rather than trapping it in suspension.

      Slow freezing is also a good way to freeze-distill (jack) wine/cider, as the crystals will also push the ethanol out of solution.

  16. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Cubic Ice

    Be careful if you ask a question about this in the supermarket.

    You may be pointed in the direction of the pharmacy section.

  17. ecofeco Silver badge

    Pimms No. 2 please

    Thank you good sir.

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