The thermal energy, or temperature, of solid water does not change as it melts into liquid water. Instead, all the thermal energy absorbed from its environment is converted into potential energy through the breaking of the rigid hydrogen bonds in water ice. The thermal energy of boiling water, as well as condensing or freezing water, also remains constant as all transferred thermal energy goes from or to potential energy.
Pure materials in general do not change into thermal energy during phase changes. However, it holds true only with pure compounds or elemental substances. Solutions such as salt water do change into thermal energy as they undergo phase changes, both because of the different thermal properties of the dissolved particles and the changes in their concentration. For instance, salt water boils at a higher temperature than fresh water, and as it boils, the concentration of salt increases, raising the boiling temperature further.
The ability of substances to absorb heat as potential energy rather than increasing in temperature is useful for situations where insulation or other temperature control is needed, according to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In certain advanced structural walls, for instance, tiny cells of paraffin begin to melt in hot temperatures. This reduces and slows down the transmission of heat because while it melts, the wall does not increase in temperature.Learn More
Thermos flasks are designed to hinder heat transfer between the liquid placed within them and the surrounding environment. The insides and outsides of flasks are often silvered to impede heat transfer through radiation. The interior of the flask is also made of a thermal insulator to impede heat conduction.Full Answer >
Most automotive oil coolers pass heated oil through a radiator-type device equipped with a fan that forces air through coils to dissipate heat, explains About.com. Some systems prevent oil overheating by constantly forcing water or liquid coolant through a maze of tubes. Viscosity is drastically reduced in overheated oil, reducing lubricating efficiency and engine performance.Full Answer >
Charles' law states that at a fixed pressure a quantity of gas has a volume directly proportional to its temperature. This means that gas kept at a constant pressure increases or decreases in volume as temperature does the same. As temperature rises, the gas molecules or particles are excited and push at surfaces with more force, creating a greater volume.Full Answer >
A Six's thermometer functions by using alcohol to expand or contract the mercury inside to display both the highest and lowest temperatures of a given time period. There are bulbs at the top of each arm of the tube, one above each indicator. The bulb above the minimum indicator tube typically contains alcohol while the bulb atop the maximum indicator tube contains a vacuum.Full Answer >