Hot Versus Cold

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Did you know that you can hear the difference between hot and cold water when they’re poured? Go ahead and give the video above a listen to try it out. I’ll wait.

As explained in the video, the viscosity of water changes with temperature – the higher the temperature, the lower the viscosity. In fact, the viscosity of water at 10 degrees Celsius is more than 4 times higher than the viscosity at 100 degrees Celsius! That’s pretty significant, and it’s a big enough difference that we can hear it in the splash, even if we don’t see the difference when pouring. 

Surface tension also decreases with temperature but not nearly as strongly. That 100 degrees Celsius water has 25% less surface tension than the 10 degrees Celsius water. But the combination of this change in viscosity and change in surface tension is why your cold water is more likely to dribble down the spout of your coffee pot when you’re filling the coffee machine than when you’re pouring coffee from the same pot. (Video credit: Steve Mould and Tom Scott; submitted by entropy-perturbation)

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