Does Cold Water Boil Faster than Warm Water?

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Updated on Mar 02, 2010




Elementary School

Difficulty of Project




Safety Issues


Material Availability

Easily available from your kitchen

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

An hour


  • To determine whether cold water boils faster than warm water
  • To understand the implications of water temperature.

  • Two pots
  • Warm water
  • Cold water


The mpemba effect can cause hot water to freeze faster than cold water.This has led to a popular kitchen myth: that the opposite is also true.Namely, that cold water boils faster than hot water.How true is this?

Research Questions
  • Does cold water boil faster than hot water?
Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research
  • What is the mpemba effect?
  • What is the ideal boiling point for water?
  • How does this boiling point change in different situations?

Experimental Procedure

  1. Take two pots.
  2. Fill one pot with cold water, and one pot with warm water.
  3. Place the pots on a stove and put them on identical heat settings.
  4. Time which one heats up first.


Kurtus, Ron.Mpemba Effect: When Hot Water Freezes Before Cold Water.School for Champions.Oct 30, 2002.

Chaplin, Martin.Water Structure and Science.Creative Commons Attribution.

A graduate of Brandeis University, Sharon Cooper loves anything having to do with English, History, and Creative Writing. When she is not creating science fair ideas, she is translating Chaucer, writing short stories, or reading various works of literature. To discuss literature or literary experimentation, please contact Sharon at

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