The melting point (or, rarely, liquefaction point) of a substance is the temperature at which it changes state from solid to liquid. At the melting point the solid and liquid phase exist in equilibrium. The melting point of a substance depends on pressure and is usually specified at a standard pressure such as 1 atmosphere or 100 kPa.
When considered as the temperature of the reverse change from liquid to solid, it is referred to as the freezing point or crystallization point. Because of the ability of some substances to supercool, the freezing point is not considered as a characteristic property of a substance. When the "characteristic freezing point" of a substance is determined, in fact the actual methodology is almost always "the principle of observing the disappearance rather than the formation of ice", that is, the melting point.
For most substances, melting and freezing points are approximately equal. For example, the melting point and freezing point of mercury is 234.32 kelvins (−38.83 °C or −37.89 °F). However, certain substances possess differing solid-liquid transition temperatures. For example, agar melts at 85 °C (185 °F) and solidifies from 31 °C (88 °F; 304 K); such direction dependence is known as hysteresis. The melting point of ice at 1 atmosphere of pressure is very close  to 0 °C (32 °F; 273 K); this is also known as the ice point. In the presence of nucleating substances, the freezing point of water is not always the same as the melting point. In the absence of nucleators water can exist as a supercooled liquid down to −48.3 °C (−55 °F, 224.8 K) before freezing.
The chemical element with the highest melting point is tungsten, at 3,414 °C (6,177 °F; 3,687 K); this property makes tungsten excellent for use as filaments in light bulbs. The often-cited carbon does not melt at ambient pressure but sublimes at about 3,726.85 °C (6,740.33 °F; 4,000.00 K); a liquid phase only exists above pressures of 10 MPa (99 atm) and estimated 4,030–4,430 °C (7,290–8,010 °F; 4,300–4,700 K) (see carbon phase diagram). Tantalum hafnium carbide (Ta4HfC5) is a refractory compound with a very high melting point of 4215 K (3942 °C, 7128 °F). At the other end of the scale, helium does not freeze at all at normal pressure even at temperatures close to absolute zero; a pressure of more than twenty times normal atmospheric pressure is necessary.
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Many laboratory techniques exist for the determination of melting points. A Kofler bench is a metal strip with a temperature gradient (range from room temperature to 300 °C). Any substance can be placed on a section of the strip, revealing its thermal behaviour at the temperature at that point. Differential scanning calorimetry gives information on melting point together with its enthalpy of fusion.
A basic melting point apparatus for the analysis of crystalline solids consists of an oil bath with a transparent window (most basic design: a Thiele tube) and a simple magnifier. The several grains of a solid are placed in a thin glass tube and partially immersed in the oil bath. The oil bath is heated (and stirred) and with the aid of the magnifier (and external light source) melting of the individual crystals at a certain temperature can be observed. In large/small devices, the sample is placed in a heating block, and optical detection is automated.
The measurement can also be made continuously with an operating process. For instance, oil refineries measure the freeze point of diesel fuel online, meaning that the sample is taken from the process and measured automatically. This allows for more frequent measurements as the sample does not have to be manually collected and taken to a remote laboratory.
For refractory materials (e.g. platinum, tungsten, tantalum, some carbides and nitrides, etc.) the extremely high melting point (typically considered to be above, say, 1800 °C) may be determined by heating the material in a black body furnace and measuring the black-body temperature with an optical pyrometer. For the highest melting materials, this may require extrapolation by several hundred degrees. The spectral radiance from an incandescent body is known to be a function of its temperature. An optical pyrometer matches the radiance of a body under study to the radiance of a source that has been previously calibrated as a function of temperature. In this way, the measurement of the absolute magnitude of the intensity of radiation is unnecessary. However, known temperatures must be used to determine the calibration of the pyrometer. For temperatures above the calibration range of the source, an extrapolation technique must be employed. This extrapolation is accomplished by using Planck's law of radiation. The constants in this equation are not known with sufficient accuracy, causing errors in the extrapolation to become larger at higher temperatures. However, standard techniques have been developed to perform this extrapolation.
Consider the case of using gold as the source (mp = 1063 °C). In this technique, the current through the filament of the pyrometer is adjusted until the light intensity of the filament matches that of a black-body at the melting point of gold. This establishes the primary calibration temperature and can be expressed in terms of current through the pyrometer lamp. With the same current setting, the pyrometer is sighted on another black-body at a higher temperature. An absorbing medium of known transmission is inserted between the pyrometer and this black-body. The temperature of the black-body is then adjusted until a match exists between its intensity and that of the pyrometer filament. The true higher temperature of the black-body is then determined from Planck's Law. The absorbing medium is then removed and the current through the filament is adjusted to match the filament intensity to that of the black-body. This establishes a second calibration point for the pyrometer. This step is repeated to carry the calibration to higher temperatures. Now, temperatures and their corresponding pyrometer filament currents are known and a curve of temperature versus current can be drawn. This curve can then be extrapolated to very high temperatures.
In determining melting points of a refractory substance by this method, it is necessary to either have black body conditions or to know the emissivity of the material being measured. The containment of the high melting material in the liquid state may introduce experimental difficulties. Melting temperatures of some refractory metals have thus been measured by observing the radiation from a black body cavity in solid metal specimens that were much longer than they were wide. To form such a cavity, a hole is drilled perpendicular to the long axis at the center of a rod of the material. These rods are then heated by passing a very large current through them, and the radiation emitted from the hole is observed with an optical pyrometer. The point of melting is indicated by the darkening of the hole when the liquid phase appears, destroying the black body conditions. Today, containerless laser heating techniques, combined with fast pyrometers and spectro-pyrometers, are employed to allow for precise control of the time for which the sample is kept at extreme temperatures. Such experiments of sub-second duration address several of the challenges associated with more traditional melting point measurements made at very high temperatures, such as sample vaporization and reaction with the container.
For a solid to melt, heat is required to raise its temperature to the melting point. However, further heat needs to be supplied for the melting to take place: this is called the heat of fusion, and is an example of latent heat.
From a thermodynamics point of view, at the melting point the change in Gibbs free energy (ΔG) of the material is zero, but the enthalpy (H) and the entropy (S) of the material are increasing (ΔH, ΔS > 0). Melting phenomenon happens when the Gibbs free energy of the liquid becomes lower than the solid for that material. At various pressures this happens at a specific temperature. It can also be shown that:
Here T, ΔS and ΔH are respectively the temperature at the melting point, change of entropy of melting and the change of enthalpy of melting.
The melting point is sensitive to extremely large changes in pressure, but generally this sensitivity is orders of magnitude less than that for the boiling point, because the solid-liquid transition represents only a small change in volume. If, as observed in most cases, a substance is more dense in the solid than in the liquid state, the melting point will increase with increases in pressure. Otherwise the reverse behavior occurs. Notably, this is the case of water, as illustrated graphically to the right, but also of Si, Ge, Ga, Bi. With extremely large changes in pressure, substantial changes to the melting point are observed. For example, the melting point of silicon at ambient pressure (0.1 MPa) is 1415 °C, but at pressures in excess of 10 GPa it decreases to 1000 °C.
Melting points are often used to characterize organic and inorganic compounds and to ascertain their purity. The melting point of a pure substance is always higher and has a smaller range than the melting point of an impure substance or, more generally, of mixtures. The higher the quantity of other components, the lower the melting point and the broader will be the melting point range, often referred to as the "pasty range". The temperature at which melting begins for a mixture is known as the "solidus" while the temperature where melting is complete is called the "liquidus". Eutectics are special types of mixtures that behave like single phases. They melt sharply at a constant temperature to form a liquid of the same composition. Alternatively, on cooling a liquid with the eutectic composition will solidify as uniformly dispersed, small (fine-grained) mixed crystals with the same composition.
In contrast to crystalline solids, glasses do not possess a melting point; on heating they undergo a smooth glass transition into a viscous liquid. Upon further heating, they gradually soften, which can be characterized by certain softening points.
The freezing point of a solvent is depressed when another compound is added, meaning that a solution has a lower freezing point than a pure solvent. This phenomenon is used in technical applications to avoid freezing, for instance by adding salt or ethylene glycol to water.
In organic chemistry, Carnelley's rule, established in 1882 by Thomas Carnelley, states that high molecular symmetry is associated with high melting point. Carnelley based his rule on examination of 15,000 chemical compounds. For example, for three structural isomers with molecular formula C5H12 the melting point increases in the series isopentane −160 °C (113 K) n-pentane −129.8 °C (143 K) and neopentane −16.4 °C (256.8 K). Likewise in xylenes and also dichlorobenzenes the melting point increases in the order meta, ortho and then para. Pyridine has a lower symmetry than benzene hence its lower melting point but the melting point again increases with diazine and triazines. Many cage-like compounds like adamantane and cubane with high symmetry have relatively high melting points.
A high melting point results from a high heat of fusion, a low entropy of fusion, or a combination of both. In highly symmetrical molecules the crystal phase is densely packed with many efficient intermolecular interactions resulting in a higher enthalpy change on melting.
An attempt to predict the bulk melting point of crystalline materials was first made in 1910 by Frederick Lindemann. The idea behind the theory was the observation that the average amplitude of thermal vibrations increases with increasing temperature. Melting initiates when the amplitude of vibration becomes large enough for adjacent atoms to partly occupy the same space. The Lindemann criterion states that melting is expected when the vibration root mean square amplitude exceeds a threshold value.
where m is the atomic mass, ν is the frequency, u is the average vibration amplitude, kB is the Boltzmann constant, and T is the absolute temperature. If the threshold value of u2 is c2a2 where c is the Lindemann constant and a is the atomic spacing, then the melting point is estimated as
Several other expressions for the estimated melting temperature can be obtained depending on the estimate of the average thermal energy. Another commonly used expression for the Lindemann criterion is
From the expression for the Debye frequency for ν, we have
In February 2011, Alfa Aesar released over 10,000 melting points of compounds from their catalog as open data. This dataset has been used to create a random forest model for melting point prediction which is now freely available. Open melting point data are also available from Nature Precedings. High quality data mined from patents and also models developed with these data were published by Tetko et al.
Brazing is a metal-joining process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal into the joint, the filler metal having a lower melting point than the adjoining metal.
Brazing differs from welding in that it does not involve melting the work pieces and from soldering in using higher temperatures for a similar process, while also requiring much more closely fitted parts than when soldering. The filler metal flows into the gap between close-fitting parts by capillary action. The filler metal is brought slightly above its melting (liquidus) temperature while protected by a suitable atmosphere, usually a flux. It then flows over the base metal (known as wetting) and is then cooled to join the work pieces together. A major advantage of brazing is the ability to join the same or different metals with considerable strength.Derivative (chemistry)
In chemistry, a derivative is a compound that is derived from a similar compound by a chemical reaction.
In the past, derivative also meant a compound that can be imagined to arise from another compound, if one atom or group of atoms is replaced with another atom or group of atoms, but modern chemical language now uses the term structural analog for this meaning, thus eliminating ambiguity. The term "structural analogue" is common in organic chemistry.
In biochemistry, the word is used for compounds that at least theoretically can be formed from the precursor compound.Chemical derivatives may be used to facilitate analysis. For example, melting point (MP) analysis can assist in identification of many organic compounds. A crystalline derivative may be prepared, such as a semicarbazone or 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazone (derived from aldehydes or ketones), as a simple way of verifying the identity of the original compound, assuming that a table of derivative MP values is available. Prior to the advent of spectroscopic analysis, such methods were widely used.Dross
Dross is a mass of solid impurities floating on a molten metal or dispersed in the metal, such as in wrought iron. It forms on the surface of low-melting-point metals such as tin, lead, zinc or aluminium or alloys by oxidation of the metal. For higher melting point metals such as steel, oxidized impurities melt and float making them easy to pour off.
With wrought iron, hammering and later rolling removed some dross.
With tin and lead the dross can be removed by adding sodium hydroxide pellets, which dissolve the oxides and form a slag. If floating, dross can also be skimmed off.
Dross, as a solid, is distinguished from slag, which is a liquid. Dross product is not entirely waste material; for example, aluminium dross can be recycled and is used in secondary steelmaking for slag deoxidation.Freezing
Freezing is a phase transition in which a liquid turns into a solid when its temperature is lowered below its freezing point. In contrast, solidification is a similar process where a liquid turns into a solid, not by lowering its temperature, but by increasing the pressure that it is under. Despite this technical distinction, the two processes are very similar and the two terms are often used interchangeably.
For most substances, the melting and freezing points are the same temperature; however, certain substances possess differing solid–liquid transition temperatures. For example, agar displays a hysteresis in its melting point and freezing point. It melts at 85 °C (185 °F) and solidifies from 32 °C to 40 °C (89.6 °F to 104 °F).Gallium
Gallium is a chemical element with symbol Ga and atomic number 31. It is in group 13 of the periodic table, and thus has similarities to the other metals of the group, aluminium, indium, and thallium. Gallium does not occur as a free element in nature, but as gallium(III) compounds in trace amounts in zinc ores and in bauxite. Elemental gallium is a soft, silvery blue metal at standard temperature and pressure, a brittle solid at low temperatures, and a liquid at temperatures greater than 29.76 °C (85.57 °F) (above room temperature, but below the normal human body temperature of 98.6 °F (37.0 °C), hence, the metal will melt in a person's hands).
The melting point of gallium is used as a temperature reference point. Gallium alloys are used in thermometers as a non-toxic and environmentally friendly alternative to mercury, and can withstand higher temperatures than mercury. The alloy galinstan (70% gallium, 21.5% indium, and 10% tin) has an even lower melting point of −19 °C (−2 °F), well below the freezing point of water.
Since its discovery in 1875, gallium has been used to make alloys with low melting points. It is also used in semiconductors as a dopant in semiconductor substrates.
Gallium is predominantly used in electronics. Gallium arsenide, the primary chemical compound of gallium in electronics, is used in microwave circuits, high-speed switching circuits, and infrared circuits. Semiconducting gallium nitride and indium gallium nitride produce blue and violet light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and diode lasers. Gallium is also used in the production of artificial gadolinium gallium garnet for jewelry.
Gallium has no known natural role in biology. Gallium(III) behaves in a similar manner to ferric salts in biological systems and has been used in some medical applications, including pharmaceuticals and radiopharmaceuticals.Ionic bonding
Ionic bonding is a type of chemical bonding that involves the electrostatic attraction between oppositely charged ions, and is the primary interaction occurring in ionic compounds. It is one of the main bonds along with Covalent bond and Metallic bonding. Ions are atoms that have gained one or more electrons (known as anions, which are negatively charged) and atoms that have lost one or more electrons (known as cations, which are positively charged). This transfer of electrons is known as electrovalence in contrast to covalence. In the simplest case, the cation is a metal atom and the anion is a nonmetal atom, but these ions can be of a more complex nature, e.g. molecular ions like NH+4 or SO2−4. In simpler words, an ionic bond is the transfer of electrons from a metal to a non-metal in order to obtain a full valence shell for both atoms.
It is important to recognize that clean ionic bonding – in which one atom or molecule completely transfers an electron to another cannot exist: all ionic compounds have some degree of covalent bonding, or electron sharing. Thus, the term "ionic bonding" is given when the ionic character is greater than the covalent character – that is, a bond in which a large electronegativity difference exists between the two atoms, causing the bonding to be more polar (ionic) than in covalent bonding where electrons are shared more equally. Bonds with partially ionic and partially covalent character are called polar covalent bonds.
Ionic compounds conduct electricity when molten or in solution, typically as a solid. Ionic compounds generally have a high melting point, depending on the charge of the ions they consist of. The higher the charges the stronger the cohesive forces and the higher the melting point. They also tend to be soluble in water; the stronger the cohesive forces, the lower the solubility.List of chemical elements
This is a list of the 118 chemical elements which have been identified as of 2019. A chemical element, often simply called an element, is a species of atoms which all have the same number of protons in their atomic nuclei (i.e., the same atomic number, or Z).Perhaps the most popular visualization of all 118 elements is the periodic table of the elements, a convenient tabular arrangement of the elements by their chemical properties that uses abbreviated chemical symbols in place of full element names, but the simpler list format presented here may also be useful. Like the periodic table, the list below organizes the elements by the number of protons in their atoms; it can also be organized by other properties, such as atomic weight, density, and electronegativity. For more detailed information about the origins of element names, see List of chemical element name etymologies.Melting
Melting, or fusion, is a physical process that results in the phase transition of a substance from a solid to a liquid. This occurs when the internal energy of the solid increases, typically by the application of heat or pressure, which increases the substance's temperature to the melting point. At the melting point, the ordering of ions or molecules in the solid breaks down to a less ordered state, and the solid melts to become a liquid.
Substances in the molten state generally have reduced viscosity as the temperature increases. An exception to this principle is the element sulfur, whose viscosity increases to a point due to polymerization and then decreases with higher temperatures in its molten state.Some organic compounds melt through mesophases, states of partial order between solid and liquid.Melting-point apparatus
A melting-point apparatus is a scientific instrument used to determine the melting point of a substance. Some types of melting-point apparatuses include the Thiele tube, Fisher-Johns apparatus, Gallenkamp (Electronic) melting-point apparatus and automatic melting-point apparatus.Newton's metal
Newton's metal is a fusible alloy with a low melting point. Its composition by weight is 8 parts bismuth, 5 parts lead and 3 parts tin; its melting point is 97 °C.
Newton's metal is comparable to Cerrobend, but avoids its toxic cadmium content. This has encouraged its use for medical applications for easily shaped shielding during radiotherapy.Refractory metals
Refractory metals are a class of metals that are extraordinarily resistant to heat and wear. The expression is mostly used in the context of materials science, metallurgy and engineering. The definition of which elements belong to this group differs. The most common definition includes five elements: two of the fifth period (niobium and molybdenum) and three of the sixth period (tantalum, tungsten, and rhenium). They all share some properties, including a melting point above 2000 °C and high hardness at room temperature. They are chemically inert and have a relatively high density. Their high melting points make powder metallurgy the method of choice for fabricating components from these metals. Some of their applications include tools to work metals at high temperatures, wire filaments, casting molds, and chemical reaction vessels in corrosive environments. Partly due to the high melting point, refractory metals are stable against creep deformation to very high temperatures.Salt (chemistry)
In chemistry, a salt is an ionic compound that can be formed by the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. Salts are composed of related numbers of cations (positively charged ions) and anions (negative ions) so that the product is electrically neutral (without a net charge). These component ions can be inorganic, such as chloride (Cl−), or organic, such as acetate (CH3CO−2); and can be monatomic, such as fluoride (F−), or polyatomic, such as sulfate (SO2−4).Solder
Solder (, or in North America ) is a fusible metal alloy used to create a permanent bond between metal workpieces. The word solder comes from the Middle English word soudur, via Old French solduree and soulder, from the Latin solidare, meaning "to make solid". In fact, solder must first be melted in order to adhere to and connect the pieces together after cooling, which requires that an alloy suitable for use as solder have a lower melting point than the pieces being joined. The solder should also be resistant to oxidative and corrosive effects that would degrade the joint over time. Solder used in making electrical connections also needs to have favorable electrical characteristics.
Soft solder typically has a melting point range of 90 to 450 °C (190 to 840 °F; 360 to 720 K), and is commonly used in electronics, plumbing, and sheet metal work. Alloys that melt between 180 and 190 °C (360 and 370 °F; 450 and 460 K) are the most commonly used. Soldering performed using alloys with a melting point above 450 °C (840 °F; 720 K) is called "hard soldering", "silver soldering", or brazing.
In specific proportions, some alloys can become eutectic — that is, their melting point is the same as their freezing point, and the alloy's melting point is lower than that of either component. Non-eutectic alloys have markedly different solidus and liquidus temperatures, and within that range they exist as a paste of solid particles in a melt of the lower-melting phase. In electrical work, if the joint is disturbed in the pasty state before it has solidified totally, a poor electrical connection may result; use of eutectic solder reduces this problem. The pasty state of a non-eutectic solder can be exploited in plumbing, as it allows molding of the solder during cooling, e.g. for ensuring watertight joint of pipes, resulting in a so-called "wiped joint".
For electrical and electronics work, solder wire is available in a range of thicknesses for hand-soldering (manual soldering is performed using a soldering iron or soldering gun), and with cores containing flux. It is also available as a paste, as a preformed foil shaped to match the workpiece, more suitable for mechanized mass-production, or in small "tabs" that can be wrapped around the joint and melted with a flame, for field repairs where an iron isn't usable or available. Alloys of lead and tin were commonly used in the past and are still available; they are particularly convenient for hand-soldering. Lead-free solders have been increasing in use due to regulatory requirements plus the health and environmental benefits of avoiding lead-based electronic components. They are almost exclusively used today in consumer electronics.Plumbers often use bars of solder, much thicker than the wire used for electrical applications. Jewelers often use solder in thin sheets, which they cut into snippets.Thiele tube
The Thiele tube, named after the German chemist Johannes Thiele, is a laboratory glassware designed to contain and heat an oil bath. Such a setup is commonly used in the determination of the melting point of a substance. The apparatus itself resembles a glass test tube with an attached handle.Triglyceride
A triglyceride (TG, triacylglycerol, TAG, or triacylglyceride) is an ester derived from glycerol and three fatty acids (from tri- and glyceride). Triglycerides are the main constituents of body fat in humans and other animals, as well as vegetable fat. They are also present in the blood to enable the bidirectional transference of adipose fat and blood glucose from the liver, and are a major component of human skin oils.There are many different types of triglyceride, with the main division between saturated and unsaturated types. Saturated fats are "saturated" with hydrogen — all available places where hydrogen atoms could be bonded to carbon atoms are occupied. These have a higher melting point and are more likely to be solid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats have double bonds between some of the carbon atoms, reducing the number of places where hydrogen atoms can bond to carbon atoms. These have a lower melting point and are more likely to be liquid at room temperature.Vicat softening point
Vicat softening temperature or Vicat hardness is the determination of the softening point for materials that have no definite melting point, such as plastics. It is taken as the temperature at which the specimen is penetrated to a depth of 1 mm by a flat-ended needle with a 1 mm2 circular or square cross-section. For the Vicat A test, a load of 10 N is used. For the Vicat B test, the load is 50 N.
Standards to determine Vicat softening point include ASTM D 1525 and ISO 306, which are largely equivalent.The vicat softening temperature can be used to compare the heat-characteristics of different materials.
Four different methods may be used for testing.
ISO 10350 Note
ISO 10350 Vicat values are tested using the B50 method.
Similar Standards: ASTM D1525White chocolate
White chocolate is a chocolate derivative. It commonly consists of cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids, and is characterized by a pale yellow or ivory appearance. The melting point of cocoa butter, the only cocoa bean component of white chocolate, is high enough to keep white chocolate solid at room temperature, just like milk chocolate or dark chocolate. By composition, white chocolate is not defined as a chocolate because it lacks cocoa solids which identify real chocolate.