October 28, 2011

5.7 Melting

Understand that a substance can change state from solid to liquid by the process of melting.

We know that all materials are made of atoms, in a solid state these atoms attract each other and are locked together by the inter-molecular forces between them. But, even in a solid state the atoms are not completely still; they still vibrate on a fixed position.
If these atoms are given more internal (kinetic) energy, the particles vibrate faster and further, if the temperature continues to increase to a point where the inter-molecular forces between particles are not strong enough to hold the structure together, but are strong enough to prevent the atoms from flying apart from each other; a liquid is born. This process of going from a solid state to a liquid is called melting or fusion.

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