Trying to Make Clear Ice - page 5
A few hours later, I had a pot of ice. I was sure the ball had frozen first. This might work!
I cut open the ball.
Round ice balls are pretty cool. Maybe I'll get one of those round molds.
But it didn't work for me. The ice has clouded with streaks of air. Maybe the hole wasn't large enough.
Next I tried degassing on a larger scale. I dug an old 5-gallon water bottle out of my garage and filled it with distilled water. Then I pumped out some water, creating a vacuum inside the bottle.
I'm not going to describe how I got the bottle of water under a strong vacuum, but I will tell you that my thirst was completely quenched afterwards.
I was satisfied that the gas in the water was now being pulled aggressively out of solution. I was trying my best to make four gallons of gas-less water.
After five days, I poured some gently into a plastic bin. It would be a tragedy to churn air into the water at this stage.
I placed this bin of water inside a second bin, and added insulation between the two nested layers.
It was set. The gasless ice would freeze from the top down.
That didn't work. I still had a white gas cloud in the center of the ice.
Was the white ice really gas after all? Could it just be larger ice crystals? Maybe the ice at the center of the block freezes quickly because it is completely surrounded by ice. Maybe this quick freeze makes bigger, uglier crystals?
No, I don't think so. I think colder conditions make smaller ice crystals.
Around this time, I spotted a crystal-clear ice sculpture of Optimus Prime on Reddit. I asked in the comments how they got the ice so clear and was sent a link to a video from the Science Channels' How it's Made. The video showed two steps that seemed worth trying: Using a pair of water pumps to keep the water circulating vigorously, and stopping the freeze process before all the water is frozen.
I didn't have an electrical outlet inside my home freezer, but I did have a single water pump.
I was ready to try anything, so I ran an extension cord through the door gasket on the freezer. I plugged in a small water pump and used its suction cup base to stick it to the side of a tub of water.