Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Freezing Causes
Name: Jenifer Gardner
Status: other
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1999 


Question:
I'm helping my son with a science project and cant't seem to find the research I need. I understand that all liquids have a different freezing point, but what causes that? Does it have something to do with the rate at which they crystalize. Are there some liquids, like butter, and honey that never freeze? How does plasma play into this? Help! Thanks!


Replies:
Dear Jenifer,

All liquids have a different freezing point because all are made of different kinds of atoms or molecules, each of which has different interatomic (or intermolecular) forces and different atomic (or molecular) sizes. These two issues work together in a complex way to determine the melting point. However, the rate of freezing is not generally related to the value of the freezing point. That again is a complex function of the detailed nature of the interatomic/intermolecular forces and size, but depending on the substance forces might be more important than size to determining one property or the other.

Butter and honey both freeze. You just have to get them cold enough.

I'm not sure what you mean by "plasma." Plasmas can only exist at ultrahigh temperatures, like in plasma welding torches, fusion reactors, or in stars. I'm not sure what that has to do with your question.

Sorry, hope this was a little helpful.

Best Regards,

Prof. Topper
Dept of Chemistry
The Cooper Union



Click here to return to the Chemistry Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory