Can you run a thread through a block of ice without splitting the block into two pieces?

Let’s find out.

Science of ice block stringing
Image credit- IceBlock | by DenaliNPS IceBlock | by DenaliNPS

What you need: A block of ice, two rectangular pieces of wood, a string and some weight.

What you do:

  • Loop and knot the string around the ice block and balance it between two rectangular pieces of wood.
  • Hang the weight on it.

What you see:

The string cuts through the ice and comes out completely but the block of ice doesn’t get split into two pieces.

Why does this happen?

Ice melts when pressure is applied and freezes again when the pressure is released. When weight is attached to the loop, the string is pulled down because of the pressure applied by the weight at the top. The part of the ice that is touching the string melts making the string slip downwards.

As the string goes lower down, the pressure at the top is reduced and the melted ice gets frozen. This process continues as the string passes through the entire block and hence the block of ice remains intact though the string cuts through it.