During this season's recent cold snapyour social media feeds were no doubt filled with people playing around with the boiling water challenge. it turns into a dazzling display or icy fog.
While it might look like some highly-programmable yet harmless fun, doctors are now warning that the experiment can also be a trip to the emergency room.
Seven people were treated for second-degree burns in Chicago as a result of one attempt gone wrong, reports ABC 7 News. One of the patients might need to undergo surgery to treat the burns.
"We do not do the boiling water challenge," Dr. Arthur Sanford, Loyola University Medical Center at Chicago, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
"There is no safe way to do it."
"The game runs from being cold air," Dr. Jeff Schaider, chairman of emergency medicine at Cook County Health at Chicago, according to The Epoch Times. "If your hand has water on it, that freezes pretty quick. That's a bigger risk, actually. "
Look, if you are going to do it (at your own risk) then make sure you throw the water well away from yourself and other people. Always remember that you are effectively just chucking around a pot or boiling water, so act accordingly.
Despite its dangers, the challenge is a pretty neat little demonstration of the Mpemba effect, the observation that hot water can freeze faster than cold water. Throwing cold water into the air will not be freeze in time, however, boiling hot water will not be able to fall significantly faster, turning it into a snow-like fog.
Remarkably, scientists do not have a clear explanation for this effect, although there are a few theories. One idea is that hot water has a faster rate of evaporation, reducing the volume left to freeze, while another suggests that different concentrations of dissolved gasses, such as carbon dioxide, could affect cooling rates. Equally, one theory highlights that warm water might cool quicker due to increased convection currents. One of the latest theories on the matter it's all with the covalent bonds that hold water together.
Regardless of Mpemba's mystery, remember to stay safe out there, folks.