During this cold snap of the season, your feeds on social media were undoubtedly full of people playing with the "challenge of boiling water". The viral phenomenon sees people coming out of the open zero with a pot of boiling water, tossing it into the air and watching it turns into a dazzling display of icy fog.
Although it might seem like a very instinct-safe and harmless fun, doctors now warn that the experiment can also make you take a trip to the emergency room.
Seven people were treated for second-degree burns and a person with third-degree burns in a Chicago hospital following an unsuccessful attempt, reports ABC 7 News. One of the patients may also need to undergo surgery to treat burns.
"We strongly urge people not to take the challenge of boiling water," said Dr. Arthur Sanford, a surgeon at the Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago, Chicago Sun-Times.
"There is no safe way to do it."
"The range goes from being essentially burned by hot liquid to cold air exposure," added Dr. Jeff Schaider, president of emergency medicine at Cook County Health in Chicago, according to The Epoch Times. "If your hand has water, it freezes quickly enough, this is a bigger risk, actually."
Look, if you do (at your own risk) make sure to throw away water away from you and other people. Always remember that you are actually just turning around a pot of boiling water, so act accordingly.
Despite its dangers, the challenge is a small enough simple demonstration of the Mpemba effect, the observation that hot water can freeze faster than cold water. The cold water thrown into the air will not work as it will not freeze in time, however, boiling the hot water will be as its temperature is able to fall significantly faster, turning it into a similar fog in the snow.
Surprisingly, scientists do not have a clear explanation for this effect, although there are some theories. One idea is that hot water has a faster evaporation rate, reducing the volume left to freeze, while another suggests that different concentrations of dissolved gases, such as carbon dioxide, could affect the rates of cooling down. Likewise, a theory shows that hot water could cool down faster due to the increase in convection currents. One of the latest theories on the question he argues that everything has to do with the covalent bonds that hold water together.
Regardless of Mpemba's mystery, remember to stay safe out there, people.