Can supercooled water be used to create an effect similar to "freezing rain"

I read an article on (#1 here) about supercooled water, and I remembered that a while back it got so cold (and wet) that rain began freezing as it landed (which, according to wikipedia, is an actual thing).

This got me wondering, is it possible to somehow spread or squirt supercooled water over an area in such a way that it will freeze to surfaces (thus fulfilling one of my childhood fantasies of owning a freeze ray)?

Freezing rain is definately real, Here in the DC area we get a bad freezing rain storm every couple of years. It is way worse than snow in terms of hazardous driving conditions and tree damage. In January of 1994 I recall a storm that everything coated with about an inch of solid ice. Closed down the University for about a week.

That said I don’t hold too high hope for your freeze ray. In my experience the rain doesn’t instantly freeze when it hits but seems to accumulate as ice gradually. So unless you cold hold the victim down for several minutes while you spayed them I don’t think it would work.

If you’re going to spay them, I’d not bother with the freezing part.:smiley:

Victim? My freeze ray would only exist for the good of humanity! ¬_¬

Freezing rain is common around here. It happens several times a winter. It’s caused when the upper air is above freezing, but objects on the ground are below. The water freezes when it hits your cold car or sometimes, more dangerously, the pavement.

No. If the surface is not freezing already, the deposited droplets will not stay frozen, whatever else happens.

Yes, this was the basis for “Pykecrete” explored during WWII: a frozen composite which, because it was a thermal insulator, would melt only slowly. It was planned to manufacture it via spraying supercooled water. Geoffrey Pyke also proposed using supercooled water sprayers as Naval weapons to encase attackers in solid ice.

…well I gathered that, but is it possible to get ice to form on it however briefly (surely at least it could eventually cool the surface to the point that it no longer melts any forming ice)?

If you want to experience this sort of thing in person, may I recommend visiting Niagara Falls on a (freezing) cold and windy day? The freezing spray certainly did a slap-up job of putting a thin layer of ice on my winter jacket.

From your link:

It looks to me as though the very act of pumping the supercooled water, in order to spray it, let alone actually passing it under pressure through nozzles to make a spray, would cause it to freeze, thus very quickly clogging up your apparatus.

I think not if you squirt it fast enough. It forms solid ice fast, but not instantaneously.

I saw a demonstration done with a standard water bottle of super cooled water. A metal rod was stuck in it, and all of the water solidified in maybe 2 or 3 seconds. Slow enough to squirt a good bit out.

You could do a sequential thing. Spray a water burst then a burst of liquid nitrogen.

So, freezing rain makes a rather unconvincing “freeze ray” but I’m not sure you need to give up yet. What if you mix your water with vast quantities of aerosol propellant? Or supercritical compressed air? You might be able to subcool water in-flight with rapid evaporation and/or gas expansion. Unfortunately, it might be so violent that you end up with a snow-maker or icicle gun.

As I understand it, water in motion won’t freeze as readily.

What I had in mind was basically a water gun filled with chilled water (not quite freezing) which had on the end of the nozzle a lattice of thin metal tubes which were surrounded by a flow of solvent; the tubes could be cooled to freeze the water as they came out, or heated to clear them if they got clogged by residue between squirts.

Perhaps there’s other solutions, like something which causes freezing point depression in water which can be filtered out as it’s fired.

Not the same thing, but there are plenty of videos on YouTube of extremely cold environments where people bring out a pot of boiling water and throw it into the air and it freezes in mid air.

From what I’ve seen, supercooled water likes to be still. If you slosh it around in your supply tank, it’ll freeze solid. On it’s travels through some sort of tube from your supply tank to your freeze gun, I think it would again freeze up.

It won’t be as amazing and astounding, but if you travel somewhere really fucking cold and just spray regular ole warm water onto (really fucking cold) stuff, it would freeze immediately (actually, it may freeze in the air as noted above), rendering your victims (and pursuers) helpless to stop you.

Freezing rain is rare, but very real. It’s a spectacular looking sight when it coats everything like jewels, but very dangerous to drive or walk on.

I immediately thought of one freezing-rain-related picture, which became a meme: “I came.”