Q:

What chemical reaction occurs in an ice pack?

A:

Quick Answer

Most cold packs utilize water and ammonium chloride or ammonium nitrate to create endothermic reactions. Endothermic reactions require energy and obtain it by absorbing heat from the environment.

Know More

Full Answer

While the majority of commercial cold packs use ammonium nitrate or ammonium chloride, many types of salts create endothermic reactions. Instant cold packs maintain water and ammonium salt in separate sections, with a thin barrier in-between. Breaking the barrier allows the salt and water to mix, dissolving the salt. As the ammonium salt dissolves, it absorbs heat from the air around it, lowering the temperature of the water to its freezing point. Once the water reaches its freezing point, it becomes less effective at dissolving the salt, meaning that some salt remains. Eventually the water begins to warm, allowing more salt to dissolve and then cooling the water again. In this way, cold packs retain their cool temperature for an extended period of time.

Endothermic reactions do not just occur in cold packs. Mixing an acid, such as vinegar or citric acid, with baking soda, a base, absorbs heat and cools its container for a short amount of time. Because endothermic reactions are those that absorb energy rather than releasing it, photosynthesis is also an endothermic reaction as it requires the absorption of energy in the form of sunlight.

Learn more about Chemistry

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How is burning a match a chemical reaction?

    A:

    Burning a match is a chemical reaction because the reactant, primarily wood, is chemically altered into a different substance, ash. A chemical reaction or change involves one or more reactants having bonds broken or altered to form new substances. In the case of burning a match, wood and oxygen are transformed into ash and smoke, two distinctly new products.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What does "chemical reaction" mean?

    A:

    The term "chemical reaction" refers to any process that changes a set of chemical substances to another. That is, the substances that are put into a chemical reaction are different, on a molecular level, from those that result.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the chemical reaction for burning sugar?

    A:

    The chemical reaction for the burning of sugar by the body is shown through the chemical equation C12H22O11(s) + 12 O2(g) -----> 12 CO2(g) + 11 H2O(l). In this equation, C12H22O11 is the sugar, which burns by reacting with the oxygen to create carbon dioxide and water.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Is heating sugar a chemical reaction?

    A:

    Heating sugar results in caramelization and is a chemical reaction. A chemical reaction is the process in which one substance is altered and forms a new substance with differing properties.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore