May 4, 2022

Can You Melt a Snowball with a Lighter?

by Kevin

Unless you are watching some magical Snow Queen and the Maleficent TV show, never should you be deluded by melting snowballs with a lighter. But, coming back to reality, can you melt a snowball with a lighter? 

No, you can’t melt a snowball with a lighter because the snowball snow has little water or moisture content. Thus, when combined with its poor heat conductivity and the air spaces, it won’t melt. Even burning it with a lighter while protecting it from dropping water will all be in vain. 

But, now that you already have the lighter and want to knock yourself out, the only way to dissuade you is by reading this post. 


Table of Contents
Is it Possible to Melt a Snowball with a Lighter
Is It Possible to Melt a Snowball with a Lighter?

No, You Cannot Melt a Snowball with a Lighter

If you still doubt the introduction of this post, you may have it your way, but the outcome will be the same – you can’t melt snowballs with a lighter.

All you get is the darkened spot where the lighter’s flames were focused. But why is that so? Let’s look at the three primary reasons you can’t melt a snowball with a lighter.

1) Incomplete Combustion is Provided by the Lighter

The primary explanation for snowballs not melting when burned is because the lighter uses a spark to light up some butane gas.

The chemistry behind the process is incomplete combustion. It happens if the lighter’s metallic wheel is flipped, causing friction and a spark that ignites the gas. 

This type of combustion happens in limited oxygen, so it’s never complete. Since fuel needs to combine with oxygen, a shortage of oxygen will result in more smoke.

Besides the little and weak flame, it will cause a foul combustion odor and spots. 

2) There is Very Little Water in the Snowball

Snow has less moisture content. That’s what makes it perfect for snowballing or making a snowman. The free moisture level in snowballs is about 3 to 13 %—the lower the free levels, the fluffier the snow.

When there is excessive moisture in the snow, it changes to sludges.

Even though 13 percent of the snowball is moisture content, 87 percent of the snowball is not moisture. It’s just airspace. Prepare for a shock if you anticipated the lighter to burn on snowball produce puddles.

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3) The Presence of Air Prevents the Flow of Heat Currents

Although it’s chilly and freezing outdoors, you are unlikely to experience extreme temperatures when you are indoors. This is referred to as isolation. 

Because of the air trapped, this phenomenon is replicated within the snow. All gas must be passed by to dissolve the snow particles, which requires a lot of time.

A lighter will not produce enough heat to see this entire procedure through. But your lighter will be productive on ice since it is generally frozen water without air. The airspace harbors water within the snowball.

The eye of the snowball contains a larger percentage of water within the snowball, but there are also traces of water in other regions.

This includes the airspaces. So, while you may have isolated the snow crystals and focused the lighter on them, the airspace will be a setback. 

Capillary motion is a mechanism that influences how fluid moves and will rule over. A capillary law states that liquids will travel across that space with or without gravitational help when you’re in a limited place.

Water is forced into those spaces between the snowball’s crystals. Considering that water particles are thick and easily cluster up, it will be hard for a lighter to break such bonds. 

Related Article: Which Material Provides Warmth Even When Wet?

The Controversy: Real vs. Fake Snow

A few have stated that it cannot be real because snow is not melted by a lighter. Instead, they assume the “government eye” to be the whitish, frothy material within the woods. 

Some suggest that nanobots may be installed inside the snowballs to spy on individuals. Its Conspiracy concepts are getting increasingly popular, and most of them may be damaging.

Since snow can’t be ignited in the air, it’s not foreseeable to melt it on the land. Remember, this is just a conspiracy, not in the government’s interest. 

Snow cannot simply fall from the sky whenever it pleases. Several prerequisites must be satisfied. The temperatures outdoors must be less than 32 degrees Fahr. Besides, air needs not to be very humid nor be wholly dehumidified.

Despite artificial snow being a thing, the govt is not using it. Instead, it’s applicable in ski resorts to lengthen balling seasons and stay in business.

Sodium polyacrylate is used to make artificial snowballs. They are finely powdered into snowflake-sized granules. Because of the possibility of pigment, fake snowballs seem white. But this is used on ski slopes. 

So how does this account for the widespread snow in southern regions such as Texas, in which the mean temperatures fall between 70 to 80?

However, the traces of these white snow-like materials covering the land surface in Texas is attributed to global warming. 

As the name implies, it’s the steady heating of the earth. But this is not the sole adverse consequence. Increasing the earth’s average temperatures evaporates water into the atmosphere faster. 

It causes an upsurge of precipitation, whether it is a rainstorm or snow. The greenhouse effect also produces or leads to a growing number of severe and unpredictable weather occurrences. The Texan snow is a highly unusual weather occurrence.

Such unusual weather occurrences shall persist unless global warming is outdone. So, this is not a conspiracy. The truth is considerably bleaker.

A snowball, still not melted
A snowball, still not melted.

Related Article: Tips on How to Stay Warmer in a Tent

What Does It Take to Melt Snowballs?

Snow isn’t hesitant to combust. Lighters are ineffective in igniting snowballs; however, alternative sources may get the job done. There was a video surfacing online from 2014 Oklahoma. It depicted glowing eyes of snow that seemed to melt. 

Conspiracy nuts were significantly more helpful or intentional irony in suggesting that fake snow was dumped on Oklahoma. Thankfully, Wayne Wyrick from Oklahoma’s science museum cleared up the confusion.

In his claims, he stated that what occurred in the trendy video was reasonable and explainable through science.

Considering the sources of heat employed in the film, the hard snow converted to ice, which subsequently transitioned to vapor. The phenomenon that occurred here was sublimation. 

The eye may quickly transition from the fluid to a gaseous phase whenever water is absorbed into the environment. However, it’s not a natural occurrence, but it’s feasible should a higher degree of heat be applied to the snowball. 

Final Thought on Melting Snowballs with Lighters

Can you melt a snowball with a lighter? No, lighters cannot melt snowballs. You will only make them get some soot and turn black.

Assuming you utilized significantly more intense heating, your endeavor gets efficacious. It can melt snow and convert it from solid-state to gaseous by subliming it. 

This falls under bizarre phenomena. It’s a mystery, but investigations show that they, like any other substance, can transform states as long as the correct temperature is provided.

Do not use lighters if you want results. Lastly, you are not on the government’s watchlists to the extent of causing them to spend their resources on nano-technology to watch you.

Leap into science and investigate everything before falling for white lies!

Frequently Asked Questions about Melting Snowballs with Lighter 

What’s the right way of melting snow?

You may choose to use a hot water solution to melt snow. It’s even cheaper. Using a bucket, combine half a gallon of heated water, 5-6 drops 6 of dishwashing soap 2 oz of alcohol. Spread the fluid evenly on the pavement or sidewalks, and the snow will quickly shatter.

How long will it take for snow to melt out completely? 

It will take 72 hours for the snow to melt when heated at 50 degrees.  This operation decelerates as the temperatures drop to minus zero at nighttime. An increasing quantity of moisture within the atmosphere can hasten to melt, whereas wind transports water and keeps snow covering.

Why the snow at the mountain peaks doesn’t melt? 

Although exposed to heat from the sun, mountain snow tends not to melt instantly. Its eye transitions from solids to fluid at zero degrees, and the heat necessary for this transition is latent heat. Since this latent impact is still strong, it requires additional temperature and period for the ice to melt. 

Why does snow take so long to melt? 

Melting ice requires an additional 32 degrees to transition. Thus, it takes significantly longer since melting this ice requires extra heating, which raises it from the negative to zero to 32 degrees Celsius. 

Why does snowball has a black color when heated with a lighter? 

Lamps and lighters are not intense heaters. Suffice it to say, they never wholly burn their fuels. For instance, when the lid is rolled, a lighter causes friction. This generates heat that meets a stream of butane gas to produce a flame.

The air, in this case, is restricted, thus causing incomplete combustion. As a result, when they burn, they produce soot. These compounds are deposited on top when you heat a snowball or other white-colored stuff. 

Eventually, the surface becomes black and emits a burning plastic odor. This impact is enhanced if the item is heated below since ascending hot air pushes the particulates upwards. But the soot is not an indication that the snow is on fire.

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About the author 

Kevin

Kevin loves bouldering. Mainly because he can practice it alone without considering other people. Although he rediscovered this hobby in the last three years, the boulders turned out to be his most visited landmarks.

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