Q:

What makes ice melt?

A:

Quick Answer

Heat causes ice to melt. Ice returns to the liquid state when the temperature rises above the freezing point of water, which is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius. Additionally, because of the specific and unusual characteristics of water, increased pressure causes it to melt as well.

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Full Answer

As with most substances, water can exist in at least three states of mater. If water is warmer than 212 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes the form of a gas, and is called water vapor. If it cools to below this temperature, it condenses into the liquid state. If the water continues to cool, it eventually turns into a solid called ice.

Some substances can lower the freezing temperature of water, which will make ice revert to its liquid form. Salt is one such chemical, which is why municipalities cover frozen roads with it. As long as the temperatures are above 15 degrees Fahrenheit, the salt melts most of the snow or ice.

Unlike most substances that take up less space when they freeze, ice takes up more space than an equal amount of water does. When pressure is applied to ice, it resists collapsing and melts instead. In some very specific conditions, water can be cooled below the freezing point.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why do ice cubes melt?

    A:

    Ice cubes melt because they are frozen water; when placed at a temperature above 32 degrees Fahrenheit while at 1 atmosphere of pressure, they undergo a phase transition to liquid water. The melting and freezing points of water are mostly the same, especially when gas is present.

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  • Q:

    Does salt melt ice faster?

    A:

    Adding salt to ice does make the ice melt much faster. The formation of ice occurs when the temperature of water reaches 0 degrees Celsius.

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  • Q:

    How long does it take ice to melt?

    A:

    It takes between 10 to 12 minutes to completely melt an ice cube on concrete with an ambient temperature of 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Ice melts at different speeds based on a range of factors such as the temperature of the ice, the size of the ice and the ambient temperature.

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  • Q:

    What causes ice to melt?

    A:

    Ice can melt as a result of an increase in energy, either by radiation or heat, or it can melt as a result of a dramatic decrease in pressure. Ice in nature, found on the tops of bodies of water and as icebergs can only melt from solar radiation or heat gain.

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