Is there a scientific way of estimating how much time a given mass of ice will take to melt in a controlled ambient temperature?
Well of course there is. The expression is dependent on three variables:
The first variable is dependent on the type of material you wish to melt, and is called the heat of fusion 'L'. For ice, L is = 335 kJ/kg.
The next variable is the mass 'm' of the material you wish to melt measured in kg.
The last variable is the effect 'p' at which heat is transferred to the material, measured in watt (W).
Now lets try an example. If I wish to determine how much time 't' it will take to melt two kilos of ice on a stow at 1000 W, i will have to use the following expression:
t = L'm / p
t = 335000 J/kg ' 2 kg / 1000 W
t = 670 seconds = 11.2 minutes.
This example is, of course, 100% theoretical and does probably not apply to reality.
Lars Krebs, Student, Aalborg Technical Collage, Denmark
'The strength and weakness of physicists is that we believe in what we can measure. And if we can't measure it, then we say it probably doesn't exist. And that closes us off to an enormous amount of phenomena that we may not be able to measure because they only happened once. For example, the Big Bang. ... That's one reason why they scoffed at higher dimensions for so many years. Now we realize that there's no alternative... '