General Question

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Can someone explain this to me in a better way?

Asked by xxporkxsodaxx (1386points) May 8th, 2008

Now everyone(hopefully) knows that when you add salt to ice it gets a lot colder, I forgot the scientific name for the reaction but can someone explain this in nice lengthy depth where I can understand how it works and why it happens.

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7 Answers

soundedfury's avatar

Adding salt to ice doesn’t make it colder. Adding salt to water lowers the freezing point, requiring it to be colder to become ice.

NeroCorvo's avatar

I believe that the reaction is endothermic- as the ice absorbs heat energy as it melts.

From Web: “When salt comes into contact with ice, it tends to break apart into
individual ions which then interact with the frozen water and disrupt
hydrogen bonds that have formed between ice molecules. This lowers the
melting temperature of ice, and it was hypothesized that the melting
process would be hastened. ”

shilolo's avatar

Soundedfury is correct about lowering the freezing point. But to generalize, what you describe is known as a colligative property of a solution (that is its scientific name). Explaining it in depth will take far too long (and I’m going out for some pizza), so I linked to an online article that I think does a decent job of describing it for you. Good luck.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

It does, effectively, get colder. The sodium and chlorine ions (salt is sodium chloride, ionically bonded) get in the way of the crystal structure of the ice, and it melts. It requires energy to pull the water molecules apart from each other so it absorbs energy from the surroundings, making it feel colder. The freezing point is effectively lowered as well.

LuckVIII's avatar

Ok let me give this a try. The type of reaction this is called is endothermic. Its a big word simply to mean that it take energy/heat to make a something happen( a reaction).

For a solid to exist such as ice it has a very stable structure. The atoms of solids are very orderly and line up. To simplify imagine a cube with atoms in each corner. Now imagine stacking this cube with more cubes all around it. This is the fundamental state that gives solids is “solid feeling”.

Now if you add salt you are essentially trying to add another molecule into our ‘cube’ structure leading to less solid structure. It takes energy in the form of heat to make this happen. Heat comes from the surround environment ie air and water thus making it seem colder.

richardhenry's avatar

[Fluther Moderator:] Great question, but please use your title more descriptively in the future. For example, “What do you call the reaction associated with adding salt to ice?” would be a better question title. Good luck!

Beans4life's avatar

well you are right salt does make ice colder actually a lot colder like Below Zero Degrees but im not positive what the process is called.

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