So, what would happen if you froze a jellyfish and dropped it?

On a different message board thing I read, somebody asked what would happen to a frozen jellyfish if you dropped it. Answers varied – some said it would shatter if it was flash frozen with liquid nitrogen, while others said the integrity of the jellyfish would probably be lost as the water would burst the cell walls as it froze, and some said you’d just have a frozen clump if it was frozen in a standard freezer.

So, what would happen under these different conditions?

  1. Jellyfish is frozen with liquid nitrogen and dropped on a tile floor
  2. Jellyfish is flash frozen and struck with a hammer
  3. Jellyfish is frozen in an Amana chest freezer and dropped on a tile floor
  4. Jellyfish is frozen in an Amana chest freezer and struck with a hammer

Would the jellyfish shatter in a billion bits? Several chunks? Would it just go thunk as it hit the floor? Would a chunk come off if you hit it with a hammer? What about the tentacles? I know there are different kinds of jellyfish. How would different species of jellyfish react?

Somebody suggested freezing gelatin in a sandwich bag to simulate this. Isn’t a jellyfish’s makeup different than a bag of Knox gelatin? I imagine the plastic bag is substantially different than jellyfish skin.

As always, I look forward to your responses.

I realise this doesn’t really answer your question, but a lot of people’s conception of what happens to familar objects when frozen seems to come from portrayals of the same in movies such as Demolition Man - where the bad guy is frozen solid and shatters into little shards when struck
I think the movies deal badly with the issue of frozen things (usually people, and specifically, their heads) - even a solid block of pure water ice can be surprisingly durable - start adding dry matter (of which, I’ll admit there is not a lot in a jellyfish) and the tendency is for it to reinforce the ice.

I would say that you’ll be able to break your jellyfish, but it will require the application of slightly greater force than it would to break a similarly-sized-and-shaped chunk of pure water ice, and that the resulting pieces will have a lesser tendency to shatter themselves, so (I think) your jellyfish will ‘thunk’ where pure ice tends to break in pieces and it will break in pieces where your pure ice tends to smash into shards.

My mispent childhood never involved freezing jellyfish BUT it did involve shallowly burying jellyfish in sand then hiding and watching and hearing the screams!

Good times!

Having encountered (and thrown at siblings) many washed-up jellyfish in my childhood, I can vouch for their elasticity, and would second the contention that they would be a tougher nut to crack than pure water ice.

Boy, you guys are violent!
We used to take jellyfish and lay them out on the dock. In a couple of gours you’d come back to find a jellyfish-colored stain on the dock. Jellyfish are motly water – even more than people are. I think it’d behave remarkably like a block of water ice, no matter how cold you got it. And, as Mangetout says, it would break into a few big chunks rather than shatter into lotsa tiny shards. Unless you went after it with a hammer and broke each piece into smallwer pieces, ad infinitum.

One thing is sure. It would land jelly side down.

Aren’t there box jellyfish off your shores? You know…the DEADLIEST ANIMAL ON EARTH?

I would think that kids in NZ and Australia would learn to stay away from jellyfish…or is it that since they are so deadly, you learn from an early age which ones ARE and which ones are NOT deadly, and feel quite confident that you won’t get stung?

Since it’s clear that people on this thread are not opposed to experimenting on jellyfish, why don’t one of you jellyfish torturers just go find a jellyfish, freeze it and drop it?

Or are you now reformed jellyfish torturers? Is there a support group for that?

I live in Wisconsin. I have no jellyfish to torture. Not that I would anyway.

Box jellyfish are found in the tropical waters of northern Australia. I don’t think you’d be likely to run across them at a NZ beach.

Having eaten many jellyfish (albeit dried, reconstituted and then cooked ones), I concur. They are chewy, almost stringy. Nothing like jello.

Ahh, my mistake. I thought they were in all the waters around the greater Australia area, including New Zealand.

I agree with you in general, although I saw a demo on TV where a guy dipped a carnation into a vat of liquid nitrogen for a second or so and then hammered it down on the desk. It broke like glass.

Now, if you have an actual glass carnation it will shatter. If you have a glass block it won’t. Same with ice.

As a child, I was stung badly by a Portugese Man-o-war jellyfish, so I’m leery of getting near them, let alone torturing them. You’ll notice I didn’t say “attacked by”. From what I remember about jellies, they don’t have the intelligence to form intent. They’re rather primitive. They sting and capture whatever they blunder onto, IIRC.

Right, in fact, no intelligence whatsoever, as they don’t have brains, just bundles of nerves.

Sure; I’d expect a lacy thing like a carnation to break when frozen - I think it would do the same if it was just frozen in an ordinary deep freeze.

However (as you imply) frozen human bodies are a different matter; I’ve seen a number of scenes in movies where someone gets his arm flash frozen by a pipe venting misty stuff (silly scenario in itself), then he knocks it against something and it smashes like a bauble.
I’ve never tried it with actual human limbs, but my experience with frozen legs of lamb is that they are incredibly durable - maybe freezing them to much lower temperatures might make them more brittle, but I still doubt they’d smash to shards without the application of phenomenal force.

Ah–like senators, you mean?

Two words: hockey pucks. :slight_smile:

No, that’s the question of what happens if you freeze an octopus and then throw it onto the ice.

There is your mistake, New Zealand is in no way or shape or feel a part of “greater Australia”. Our beasties can’t/won’t kill us (mostly)!