Hi Casey with Ice Lab. How long an ice sculpture last is size, temperature, sunlight and air circulation dependent. I will try to answer that question as best I can but keep in mind the circumstances will be the determining factor. I will speak to each parameter to try and give your sculpture its best chance for longevity.
Size plays two huge roles in an Ice sculpture’s longevity. The first is obvious the thicker an ice sculpture is the longer it will take to melt all the way through. The second is structural strength. If a sculpture is large enough it will have to depend on lower blocks integrity to support itself. Typically large sculptures will not lose one block without a large portion of the structure coming down. Whenever this is a possibility we rope off the structure with room to collapse.
Temperature is not the worst enemy of ice but it plays a big role. A single block sculpture will last about 5-7 hours in 85 degrees, 6-8 hours in 72 degrees, 12 or more hours in 50 degrees. These figures are just approximates and depend on other factors as well. Larger sculptures can be counted on to last a similar amount of time depending on their depth.
Sunlight can reich havoc on an ice sculpture. It penetrates the sculpture warming it not just on the outside but all the way through. So as the outside melts there is less internal temperature load to overcome. If you can place your sculpture in the shade, do. It will make your sculpture last hours longer.
Air Circulation is the true killer. Nothing melts a sculpture faster than warm moving air. Obviously this detriment is temperature dependent but you can think of moving air like a convection oven for ice sculptures. It is gonna cook faster even at room temperature.
If you want an ice sculpture but aren’t sure how long it will last in the event conditions send us the details in our contact form and we will get back to you with a very professional, guess.