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The Frozen Lake



What happens to fishes who live in a lake when it becomes very cold outside and the lake freezes? To try to answer this question we have built and analysed a model that mimics the freezing of the lake when the outside temperature goes below 0°C, in order to understand what happens at the surface and underneath.

The main objective is to study the freezing process of a water mass when it is cools down from the surface, introducing the concept of model and of lab simulation of a natural phenomenon.

Antoine Lambert Lavoiser
Chemist, naturalist, agronomist, economist and tax-collector, Lavoisier shaped a new revolutionary image of Chemistry. Member of the Académie des Sciences, representative of the nobles of Blois was arrested in November 1793. It was executed on May 8, 1794. He gave an important contribution also to heat interpretation by criticizing the flogisto theory. In 1783 he published “Memoire sur la chaleur” together with Laplace.

In this experiment you will be able to reproduce in the lab experimental conditions similar to those present in a lake when the outside temperature goes below 0°C. The analysed system is interesting for understanding some relevant properties of water and studying some biological mechanisms involved. In order to build the physical model you will use simple and low cost materials. To study the process you will need three temperature probes linked to a data acquisition system.

[ Theory  |  Apparatus setup  |  Data acquisition  |   Data sample  |  Data analysis (TI84)  |  Data analysis (MSExcel)  |  PDF version of the module |  Evaluation form   |  Teacher's guide  |  Back to Experiments  ]

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