Cold Packs and Endothermic Reactions

Mixing ammonium chloride and water produces an icy endothermic reaction.
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You can make your own cold pack by tossing water in the freezer (otherwise known as making ice cubes), but there are chemical reactions you can do to make things cold, too.

Cause a Reaction

Reactions that absorb heat from the environment are called endothermic reactions. A common example is a chemical ice pack, which usually contains water and a packet of ammonium chloride. The cold pack is activated by breaking the barrier separating the water and ammonium chloride, allowing them to mix.

If you are doing a demonstration, making a cold pack, or just seeking examples of endothermic reactions and processes, there are other chemicals you can react to get a lowered temperature:

  • Barium hydroxide octahydrate with ammonium chloride
  • Ammonium nitrate and water
  • Potassium chloride and water
  • Sodium carbonate (washing soda) and ethanoic acid
  • Cobalt(II) sulfate heptahydrate and thionyl chloride
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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Cold Packs and Endothermic Reactions." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 25). Cold Packs and Endothermic Reactions. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Cold Packs and Endothermic Reactions." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 30, 2023).