ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why the Tongue Sticks to Metal in the Winter

Updated on October 24, 2014
Movie still from the Christmas classic, A Christmas Story.
Movie still from the Christmas classic, A Christmas Story.

In the movie, A Christmas Story, Flick was dared by Schwartz to touch his tongue to the metal flagpole. This all started because Flick argued that it wasn't possible for a person's tongue to stick to a cold, metal flagpole. Although when dared, Flick was still apprehensive about doing it but as the movie said a double-dog dare is serious business but a triple dog dare is the "coup de grace of all dares". Flick felt no other choice but to put his money where his mouth is literally.

Although they used a suction cup in the movie to make it appear as if Flick's tongue was really stuck to the flagpole, in real life many people attempt this out of curiosity and find out that although the scene is funny in the movie, it isn't funny in real life; at least for the person stuck to the pole. For the people witnessing it, that's a whole other story in most cases.

Having your tongue stuck to a cold, metal pole can be quite painful and there is a good, scientific reason why. Metal is actually a great conductor for heat. When the warm tongue hits cold metal, such as a metal flagpole, heat is transferred from the person's saliva on the tongue to the metal. As long as the metal is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it will literally freeze the tongue to the metal in a matter of seconds depending on exactly how cold the metal is. The colder the metal is, the faster the freeze time.

According to Frank J. DiSalivo, a professor at Cornell University, heat is transferred away from your tongue, which has a higher temperature, to the metal surface, which has a lower temperature. This is considered a form of thermal conductivity. The fact that the body is a constant source of warmth, body heat is being transferred to the pole, thus leaving the tongue stuck to the metal surface.

Most people would think that because the body is a constant source of warmth, that it should keep the tongue from freezing to the metal surface. Not necessarily. The constant heat is neither warm enough nor released fast enough to detach the tongue naturally.

Although it can be humorous to on-lookers, the person attached to the pole would probably like to be detached as quickly as possible. So if you happen to find yourself in a situation where your tongue is stuck to a metal object, whether intentionally or unintentionally, do not attempt to pull your tongue free from the metal object. Even though this is the initial response to the dilemma, ultimately, you may leave the top layer of your tongue attached to the metal object.

To safely remove your tongue from a metal object, you are going to have to gradually loosen your tongue from the metal with something warm. This will melt the frozen area long enough to detach the tongue from the metal surface. Most people go straight to using their warm breathe but this doesn't always help. In fact, it may make it worse.

Instead, simply use warm water to loosen the tongue from the metal surface. This is a safer way to remove a frozen tongue from a metal pole. The tongue may be sore for awhile but at least it is still intact.

Although there are safe ways to remove the tongue from a metal surface, the best advice is don't do it at all. Even though most people are generally put up to doing it by people they know; if you stick your tongue to a metal surface when by yourself the humor fades away quickly as you try to figure out how to detach your tongue safely with minimal damage.

Have you or someone you know ever stick your tongue to a cold, metal pole?

See results

© 2014 L Sarhan

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Joyfulcrown profile image

      Joyfulcrown 

      3 years ago

      Thank you for the information. I always wondered if it was true but was too scared to find out for myself.

      Happy New Year

    • 1701TheOriginal profile image

      Leonard Kelley 

      3 years ago

      Nice hub on a common occurrence! Always good to explore these.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)