Energy Transfers at Melting Point
Name: Khoa C.
Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2003
What happens to the potential and kinetic energy of
ice as it melts?
The kinetic energy (energy of motion) of the atoms and molecules in the
surrounding material -- at first air, then water as melting progresses --
is transferred from the surroundings to the ice in order to dismantle the
ice latticework. Thus, particles in the surroundings lose a little of
their KE in proportion to that gained by the molecules in the melting ice.
Potential energy (energy of position in a gravitational field) does not
change unless (for example) the ice is atop a table and the melt-water
runs off to the floor.
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Update: June 2012