Physics Of Ice Melting
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Melting is the process of changing state from solid to liquid due to change in temperature. Ice melting is the process in which solid water called ice turns its state into liquid. The melting point of substances is the constant temperature at which pure solid substances change into a liquid. The alteration of state from liquid to solid is called freezing or solidification. Sometimes called casting. The freezing temperatures and melting temperatures of pure substances are equal (Ice Cubes Melting Process). Mostly freezing always cause a contraction in substances and melting causes expansion. In this case, water is an exception because the melting of ice leads to contraction and freezing of water to ice leads to expansion. The reason as to why ice always floats on water is because the density of water is maximum at 4 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, water is at its minimum volume.
The diagram below shows the physical changes during the process of ice melting.
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During the melting of the ice as a result of an increase in temperature, the particles of the ice absorb heat energy which is then converted into kinetic energy. The vibration of the ice particles increases as a result of an increase in the kinetic energy of the particles. When the ice particle has gained enough energy to overcome attractive forces between the particles, the ice begins to melt. At this point, there is no gain of temperature as the temperature that had been gained is used in melting hence the temperature is constant. The absorbed heat is as well used to weaken the forces of attraction between the particles and not the kinetic energy of the ice particles. This makes the particles to start moving away due to weak bonds and hence liquid is formed.
The melting point of ice can be altered by the addition of impurities and increase in pressure. Addition of impurities to ice reduces the melting point of ice while the application of pressure on ice lowers the melting point of ice. In cold countries, salt is added in the roads during the winter season to reduce the melting points of ice. To accelerate the melting of ice, its freezing point has to be lowered by sprinkling salt on the ice, and this will make it melt at lower temperatures than the normal. This is because pure solid ice contains only water and ice which are in dynamic equilibrium with each other. At the melting-freezing point of 0 degrees Celsius, the balance between the melting and freezing point can be preserved unless there is a change in condition that favors one of the processes. Therefore, the addition of salt alters the conditions of the processes because the molecules of the salt dissolve in the water part of the ice and do not easily pack into the cluster of the solid particles (Melting and Solidification Learn Physics Online). The rate of freezing consequently drops as a result of an imbalance between the water molecules and the ice. This is because the water molecules are fewer on the side of the liquid because it had been substituted with salt.
Some of the energy transformation during melting of ice include uptake and release of heat energy which in turn results in a change in the physical state of the ice. A slight increase in temperature more than 0 degrees Celsius makes the ice to start to melt. This is because the ice particles engross energy that makes its particles acquire energy to enable them to overcome the force holding them together, and hence they start to move away from each other. The distance of particles in liquids is smaller than those of solid. The liquid particles do not have a regular shape as those of solid, and they also slide past each other and this what happens when the solid ice changes into a liquid. Solid ice takes a minor area than when it melts because, when it melts, the compact atoms spread out taking extra space.
In conclusion, the melting of ice involves various energy transformation and physical changes. A slight change in temperature can trigger the melting of ice to take place.
Ice Cubes Melting Process.Sciencing. N.p., n.d. Web. 7May2019.
Melting and Solidification Learn Physics Online.Mini Physics. N.p., n.d. Web. 7May2019.
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