Melting Point Vs. Freezing Point

Melting point and freezing point aren't always the same

Frozen water (ice cube)

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You may think the melting point and freezing point of a substance occur at the same temperature. Sometimes they do, but sometimes they don't. The melting point of a solid is the temperature at which the vapor pressure of the liquid phase and the solid phase are equal and at equilibrium. If you increase the temperature, the solid will melt. If you decrease the temperature of a liquid past the same temperature, it may or may not freeze!

This is supercooling and it occurs with many substances, including water. Unless there is a nucleus for crystallization, you can cool water well below its melting point and it won't turn to ice (freeze). You can demonstrate this effect by cooling very pure water in a freezer in a smooth container to as low as −42 degrees Celcius. Then if you disturb the water (shake it, pour it, or touch it), it will turn to ice as you watch. The freezing point of water and other liquids may be the same temperature as the melting point. It won't be higher, but it could easily be lower.

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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Melting Point Vs. Freezing Point." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, February 16). Melting Point Vs. Freezing Point. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Melting Point Vs. Freezing Point." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 24, 2023).