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This figure shows four photos each labeled, “a,” “b,” “c,” and, “d.” Each photo shows a beaker with ice and a digital thermometer. The first photo shows ice cubes in the beaker, and the thermometer reads negative 12.0 degrees C. The second photo shows slightly melted ice, and the thermometer reads 0.0 degrees C. The third photo shows more water than ice in the beaker. The thermometer reads 0.0 degrees C. The fourth photo shows the ice completely melted, and the thermometer reads 22.2 degrees C.
(a) This beaker of ice has a temperature of −12.0 °C. (b) After 10 minutes the ice has absorbed enough heat from the air to warm to 0 °C. A small amount has melted. (c) Thirty minutes later, the ice has absorbed more heat, but its temperature is still 0 °C. The ice melts without changing its temperature. (d) Only after all the ice has melted does the heat absorbed cause the temperature to increase to 22.2 °C. (credit: modification of work by Mark Ott)

If we stop heating during melting and place the mixture of solid and liquid in a perfectly insulated container so no heat can enter or escape, the solid and liquid phases remain in equilibrium. This is almost the situation with a mixture of ice and water in a very good thermos bottle; almost no heat gets in or out, and the mixture of solid ice and liquid water remains for hours. In a mixture of solid and liquid at equilibrium, the reciprocal processes of melting and freezing    occur at equal rates, and the quantities of solid and liquid therefore remain constant. The temperature at which the solid and liquid phases of a given substance are in equilibrium is called the melting point    of the solid or the freezing point    of the liquid. Use of one term or the other is normally dictated by the direction of the phase transition being considered, for example, solid to liquid (melting) or liquid to solid (freezing).

The enthalpy of fusion and the melting point of a crystalline solid depend on the strength of the attractive forces between the units present in the crystal. Molecules with weak attractive forces form crystals with low melting points. Crystals consisting of particles with stronger attractive forces melt at higher temperatures.

The amount of heat required to change one mole of a substance from the solid state to the liquid state is the enthalpy of fusion, ΔH fus of the substance. The enthalpy of fusion of ice is 6.0 kJ/mol at 0 °C. Fusion (melting) is an endothermic process:

H 2 O ( s ) H 2 O( l ) Δ H fus = 6.01 kJ/mol

The reciprocal process, freezing, is an exothermic process whose enthalpy change is −6.0 kJ/mol at 0 °C:

H 2 O ( l ) H 2 O( s ) Δ H frz = −Δ H fus = −6.01 kJ/mol

Sublimation and deposition

Some solids can transition directly into the gaseous state, bypassing the liquid state, via a process known as sublimation    . At room temperature and standard pressure, a piece of dry ice (solid CO 2 ) sublimes, appearing to gradually disappear without ever forming any liquid. Snow and ice sublime at temperatures below the melting point of water, a slow process that may be accelerated by winds and the reduced atmospheric pressures at high altitudes. When solid iodine is warmed, the solid sublimes and a vivid purple vapor forms ( [link] ). The reverse of sublimation is called deposition    , a process in which gaseous substances condense directly into the solid state, bypassing the liquid state. The formation of frost is an example of deposition.

This figure shows a test tube. In the bottom is a dark substance which breaks up into a purple gas at the top.
Sublimation of solid iodine in the bottom of the tube produces a purple gas that subsequently deposits as solid iodine on the colder part of the tube above. (credit: modification of work by Mark Ott)

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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