4C20.30 - Regelation - Cutting Ice Blocks with a Wire

See paragraph one in the procedure section
Code Number:
Demo Title:
Regelation - Cutting Ice Blocks with a Wire
Temperature - Pressure Relationships
Area of Study:
Heat & Fluids
Steel Cart, Ice Block Holder, Stands and Rods, Towels, Piano Wire, Lead Bricks (2), Large Ice Block (About 20 to 50 lbs.), Kilogram weights (6).

Set up apparatus as shown. Ice blocks may be made or ordered from general stores, or even bought downtown. Advanced notice of several days is required for any of these. Place the block in the holder, put the wire over it and hang the lead bricks from the wire. The wire will cut through the ice block in several hours. (25 lb block). The metal cart is used to catch the fair amount of water that will develop. A single ice cube may be used as shown. The same wire may be used to cut the ice cube but you do not need to use nearly so much weight. Six kilograms works very nicely. The time for the wire to cut the ice cube is 10 to 12 minutes. There is very little water spillage with this version.

  • Pirooz Mohazzabi, "The Physics of 'String Passing Through Ice' ", TPT, Vol. 49, # 7, Oct. 2011, p. 429.
  • Michael D. Edmiston,  "Letters: Does Skating Melt Ice?",  TPT, Vol. 27, # 5, p. 327, May 1989.
  • Ronald D. Edge,  "Response",  TPT, Vol. 27, # 5. p. 327, May 1989.
  • Wallace A. Hilton, "Ice Cube Regelation", TPT, Vol. 12, # 5, May 1974, p. 307.
  • Marvin J. Pryor, "Regelation is for Everybody",  TPT, Vol. 4, # 8, Nov. 1966, p. 368.
  • "Regelation", TPT, Vol. 3, # 3, March 1965, p. 137.
  • Mark W. Zemansky, "The Regelation of Ice is a Complicated Phenomenon", TPT, Vol. 3, # 7, October 1965, p. 301. 
  • Hk - 4:  Freier and Anderson,  A Demonstration Handbook for Physics.
  • H- 304:  "Wire on Ice Block - Plastic Flow",  DICK and RAE Physics Demo Notebook.
  • Martin C. Sagendorf, "Pressure Melting",  Physics Demonstration Apparatus, 2009. p. 134.
  • Vicki Cobb and Kathy Darling, "A Cold Fact", Bet You Can't!, p. 92.
  • Vicki Cobb and Kathy Darling, "Heavy Pressure", Bet You Can!, p. 46.
  • Vicki Cobb and Kathy Darling, "Hanging by a Thread", Bet You Can!, p. 37.
  • "Peculiar Properties of Ice", The Boy Scientist, p. 174.
  • Janice VanCleave, "32, Catch an Ice Cube", Teaching the Fun of Physics, p. 49.
  • Janice VanCleave, "33, Ice on a Wire", Teaching the Fun of Physics, p. 50.
  • Alan Holden and Phylis Morrison,  "Melting and Transforming Crystals",  Crystals and Crystal Growing,  p. 223.
  • Brown, "Melting Under Pressure", 333 Science Tricks and Experiments, p. 75.
  • Don Herbert, Roy McKie, "Ice-Cube Lift",  Mr. Wizard's Supermarket Science, p. 24.
  • Janice VanCleave, "Flowing Ice", 201 Awesome, Magical, Bizarre, and Incredible Experiments, p. 73.
  • "Frozen Solid",  The Usborne Book of Science Experiments,  p. 42.  
  • Joey Green, "Ice Cube Saw", The Mad Scientist Handbook, Vol. 2, p. 55.
  • Julius Sumner Miller, Q114 & A114, Millergrams II – Some More Enchanting Questions for Enquiring Minds, p. 12 & 75.

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.