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Supercooled Sodium Acetate Solution


500 mL Erlenmeyer Flasks (With Sodium Acetate solution)

Small Bottle of solid Sodium Acetate


Gloves and Goggles




  1. In a 500 mL Erlenmeyer Flask on a hot plate or over a bunsen burner dissolve 250gm NaOOCCH3 * 3 H2O in 75ml water. Cover the flask with a large watchglass and cool (at least 1 hour for best results).  Note: there should not be any solid or crystals left on the inside of the flask, or the solution will crystalize.
  2. The hot solution can be quick cooled in an ice bath if one is in a hurry. The liquid level should be just over 270ml for a saturated solution.
  3. Move solutions with caution. A slight bump can cause crystallization of the solution.
  4. Add a teeny weeny bit on the tip of a spatula of sodium acetate to the supercooled solution. Entire solution crystallizes.
  5. Repeat with the other flasks.


Waste Management

There should be no waste with this demonstration since the flasks can be covered with parafilm and aluminum foil and reused next time.  Heating the sodium acetate will cause them to go back into solution.  You may have to use a squirt bottle of water to wash down the insides of the flasks.