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Mpemba effect

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: TH

 Context: The Mpemba effect, named after Tanzanian student Erasto Mpemba, describes the counterintuitive phenomenon where hot water can freeze faster than cold water in similar conditions.

  • Although noticed by historical figures like Aristotle, Francis Bacon, and René Descartes, the effect gained attention after Mpemba highlighted it in 1969.

Despite various experiments, scientists have not reached a consensus on the exact causes of the Mpemba effect.

Several factors are considered, such as microbubbles promoting convection and heat transfer in heated water, increased evaporation in warmer water, and the insulating effect of frost in cold water.

Compounds like calcium carbonate in water may also play a role.