The reason why cold object melts is because they absorb heat. The purpose of a cooler is to prevent the cold object, in this case ice, from absorbing heat. The way it does this is two fold; 1) minimize conduction of heat and 2) minimize convection.
Conduction is the act of heat moving from one object to another in the form of energy. The hotter something is, the faster the molecules move in it and the more they can transfer heat to cold objects, like ice. The cooler uses insulators to keep ice cool. Insulation is a material that does not conduct, or transfer, heat well. Styrofoam is a good insulator.
Convection is how heat moves through air. If warm air moves across a piece of ice it will transfer heat to it, causing it to melt. So, the second way a cooler keeps things cool is by staying closed. Having a insulated and closed container will prevent warm air from coming in contact with the cool ice. That is why the ice melts faster if you leave the cooler open too long. Hope that answers your question.Stay Cool!
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