Freezing-point depression

Freezing-point depression

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Encyclopedia
Freezing-point depression describes the phenomenon in which the freezing point
Melting point
The melting point of a solid is the temperature at which it changes state from solid to liquid. At the melting point the solid and liquid phase exist in equilibrium. The melting point of a substance depends on pressure and is usually specified at standard atmospheric pressure...

 of a liquid
Liquid
Liquid is one of the three classical states of matter . Like a gas, a liquid is able to flow and take the shape of a container. Some liquids resist compression, while others can be compressed. Unlike a gas, a liquid does not disperse to fill every space of a container, and maintains a fairly...

 (a solvent
Solvent
A solvent is a liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves another solid, liquid, or gaseous solute, resulting in a solution that is soluble in a certain volume of solvent at a specified temperature...

) is depressed when another compound is added, meaning that a solution
Solution
In chemistry, a solution is a homogeneous mixture composed of only one phase. In such a mixture, a solute is dissolved in another substance, known as a solvent. The solvent does the dissolving.- Types of solutions :...

 has a lower freezing point than a pure solvent
Solvent
A solvent is a liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves another solid, liquid, or gaseous solute, resulting in a solution that is soluble in a certain volume of solvent at a specified temperature...

. This happens whenever a non-volatile solute is added to a pure solvent, such as water. The phenomenon may be observed in sea water, which due to its salt content remains liquid at temperatures below 0°C, the freezing point of pure water
H2O
H2O is the chemical formula for water and is also used as an abbreviation for the word "water". H2O or H2O It may also refer to:* H2O , a punk band**H2O , their self-titled debut album...

.

Uses



The phenomenon of freezing point depression is used in technical applications to avoid freezing. In the case of water, ethylene glycol
Ethylene glycol
Ethylene glycol is an organic compound widely used as an automotive antifreeze and a precursor to polymers. In its pure form, it is an odorless, colorless, syrupy, sweet-tasting liquid...

 or other forms of antifreeze
Antifreeze
Antifreeze is a freeze preventive used in internal combustion engines and other heat transfer applications, such as HVAC chillers and solar water heaters....

 is added to cooling water in internal combustion engines, making the mixture stay a liquid at temperatures below its normal freezing point. This phenomenon is effective in quickly lowering the temperature of a beverage placed in an ice bath containing salt; it is commonly used to make ice cream or cool beers rapidly. Road salting is the most widespread application, helping to melt ice
Ice
Ice is water frozen into the solid state. Usually ice is the phase known as ice Ih, which is the most abundant of the varying solid phases on the Earth's surface. It can appear transparent or opaque bluish-white color, depending on the presence of impurities or air inclusions...

 and snow
Snow
Snow is a form of precipitation within the Earth's atmosphere in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft structure, unless packed by...

 on the highway. It is especially useful in removing black ice
Black ice
Black ice, sometimes called glare ice or clear ice, refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface.While not truly black, it is virtually transparent, allowing black asphalt/macadam roadways to be seen through it, hence the term "black ice"...

, which is a hidden but lethal danger to drivers. The maximum depression of the freezing point is about -18°C, so if the ambient temperature is lower, salt
Salt
In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

 or sodium chloride
Sodium chloride
Sodium chloride, also known as salt, common salt, table salt or halite, is an inorganic compound with the formula NaCl. Sodium chloride is the salt most responsible for the salinity of the ocean and of the extracellular fluid of many multicellular organisms...

 will be ineffective.

The use of freezing-point depression through "freeze avoidance" has also evolved
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 in some animals that live in very cold environments. This happens through permanently high concentration of physiologically
Physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

 rather inert substances such as sorbitol
Sorbitol
Sorbitol, also known as glucitol, Sorbogem® and Sorbo®, is a sugar alcohol that the human body metabolizes slowly. It can be obtained by reduction of glucose, changing the aldehyde group to a hydroxyl group. Sorbitol is found in apples, pears, peaches, and prunes...

 or glycerol
Glycerol
Glycerol is a simple polyol compound. It is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is widely used in pharmaceutical formulations. Glycerol has three hydroxyl groups that are responsible for its solubility in water and its hygroscopic nature. The glycerol backbone is central to all lipids...

 to increase the molality of fluids in cells and tissues, and thereby decrease the freezing point. Examples include some species of arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

-living fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, such as rainbow smelt
Rainbow smelt
The rainbow smelt, Osmerus mordax, is an anadromous species of fish of the family Osmeridae. The distribution of Osmerus mordax is circumpolar. The rainbow smelt was introduced to the Great Lakes, and from there has made its way to various other places. Walleye, trout, and other larger fish prey on...

, which need to be able to survive in freezing temperatures for a long time. In other animals, such as the spring peeper
Spring Peeper
The Spring Peeper is a small chorus frog widespread throughout the eastern USA and Canada.-Subspecies:There are two subspecies of the Spring Peeper, the Northern and the Southern Spring Peeper . The Northern is similar to the Southern except for a strong dark marking on the Southern frog's belly...

 frog (Pseudacris crucifer), the molality is increased temporarily as a reaction to cold temperatures. In the case of the peeper frog, this happens by massive breakdown of glycogen
Glycogen
Glycogen is a molecule that serves as the secondary long-term energy storage in animal and fungal cells, with the primary energy stores being held in adipose tissue...

 in the frog's liver and subsequent release of massive amounts of glucose
Glucose
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

.

With the formula below, freezing-point depression can be used to measure the degree of dissociation
Dissociation (chemistry)
Dissociation in chemistry and biochemistry is a general process in which ionic compounds separate or split into smaller particles, ions, or radicals, usually in a reversible manner...

 or the molar mass
Molar mass
Molar mass, symbol M, is a physical property of a given substance , namely its mass per amount of substance. The base SI unit for mass is the kilogram and that for amount of substance is the mole. Thus, the derived unit for molar mass is kg/mol...

 of the solute. This kind of measurement is called cryoscopy (Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 "freeze-viewing") and relies on exact measurement of the freezing point. The degree of dissociation is measured by determining the van 't Hoff factor
Van 't Hoff factor
The van 't Hoff factor i is a measure of the effect of a solute upon colligative properties, such as vapor pressure, osmotic pressure and freezing point depression. The van 't Hoff factor is the ratio between the actual concentration of particles produced when the substance is dissolved, and the...

 i by first determining mB and then comparing it to msolute. In this case, the molar mass of the solute must be known. The molar mass of a solute is determined by comparing mB with the amount of solute dissolved. In this case, i must be known, and the procedure is primarily useful for organic compounds using a nonpolar solvent. Cryoscopy is no longer as common a measurement method as it once was. As an example, it was still taught as a useful analytic procedure in Cohen's Practical Organic Chemistry of 1910, in which the molar mass
Molar mass
Molar mass, symbol M, is a physical property of a given substance , namely its mass per amount of substance. The base SI unit for mass is the kilogram and that for amount of substance is the mole. Thus, the derived unit for molar mass is kg/mol...

 of naphthalene
Naphthalene
Naphthalene is an organic compound with formula . It is a white crystalline solid with a characteristic odor that is detectable at concentrations as low as 0.08 ppm by mass. As an aromatic hydrocarbon, naphthalene's structure consists of a fused pair of benzene rings...

 is determined in a so-called Beckmann freezing apparatus.

Freezing-point depression can also be used as a purity analysis tool when analysed by differential scanning calorimetry
Differential scanning calorimetry
Differential scanning calorimetry or DSC is a thermoanalytical technique in which the difference in the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of a sample and reference is measured as a function of temperature. Both the sample and reference are maintained at nearly the same temperature...

. The results obtained are in mol%, but the method has its place, where other methods of analysis fail.

This is also the same principle acting in the melting-point depression observed when the melting point of an impure solid mixture is measured with a melting point apparatus
Melting point apparatus
A melting point apparatus is a scientific instrument used to determine the melting point of a substance. Some types of melting point apparatuses include the Thiele tube, Fisher-Johns apparatus, Gallenkamp melting point apparatus and automatic melting point apparatus.- Design :While the outward...

, since melting and freezing points both refer to the liquid-solid phase transition (albeit in different directions).

In principle, the boiling point elevation and the freezing point depression could be used interchangeably for this purpose. However, the cryoscopic constant
Cryoscopic constant
In thermodynamics, the cryoscopic constant, Kf, allows one to relate molality to freezing point depression. It is the ratio of the latter to the former:\triangle T_f = K_f \cdot m \cdot i...

 is larger than the ebullioscopic constant
Ebullioscopic constant
In thermodynamics, the ebullioscopic constant, Kb, allows one to relate molality to boiling point elevation. It is the ratio of the latter to the former:\Delta T = i\cdot K_b \cdot mi is the Vant Hoff factor...

 and the freezing point is often easier to measure with precision, which means measurements using the freezing point depression are more precise.

Freezing-point depression of a solute vs a solvent


We consider the problem in which the solvent freezes to a very nearly pure crystal, regardless of the presence of the solute. This typically occurs simply because the solute molecules do not fit well in the crystal, i.e. substituting a solute for a solvent molecule in the crystal has high enthalpy
Enthalpy
Enthalpy is a measure of the total energy of a thermodynamic system. It includes the internal energy, which is the energy required to create a system, and the amount of energy required to make room for it by displacing its environment and establishing its volume and pressure.Enthalpy is a...

.

In this case, for low solute concentrations, the freezing point depression depends solely on the concentration of solute particles, not on their individual properties. The freezing point depression thus is called a colligative property.

The explanation for the freezing point depression is then simply that as solvent molecules leave the liquid and join the solid they leave behind a smaller volume of liquid in which the solute particles can roam. The resulting reduced entropy
Entropy
Entropy is a thermodynamic property that can be used to determine the energy available for useful work in a thermodynamic process, such as in energy conversion devices, engines, or machines. Such devices can only be driven by convertible energy, and have a theoretical maximum efficiency when...

 of the solute particles thus is independent of their properties. This approximation ceases to hold when the concentration
Concentration
In chemistry, concentration is defined as the abundance of a constituent divided by the total volume of a mixture. Four types can be distinguished: mass concentration, molar concentration, number concentration, and volume concentration...

 becomes large enough for solute-solute interactions to become important. In that regime, the freezing point depression depends on particular properties
Chemical property
A chemical property is any of a material's properties that becomes evident during a chemical reaction; that is, any quality that can be established only by changing a substance's chemical identity...

 of the solute other than its concentration.

Calculation


If the solution is treated as an ideal solution
Ideal solution
In chemistry, an ideal solution or ideal mixture is a solution with thermodynamic properties analogous to those of a mixture of ideal gases. The enthalpy of solution is zero as is the volume change on mixing; the closer to zero the enthalpy of solution is, the more "ideal" the behavior of the...

, the extent of freezing point depression depends only on the solute concentration that can be estimated by a simple linear relationship with the cryoscopic constant
Cryoscopic constant
In thermodynamics, the cryoscopic constant, Kf, allows one to relate molality to freezing point depression. It is the ratio of the latter to the former:\triangle T_f = K_f \cdot m \cdot i...

:

ΔTF = KF · m · i
  • ΔTF, the freezing point depression, is defined as TF (pure solvent) - TF (solution).
  • KF, the cryoscopic constant, which is dependent on the properties of the solvent, not the solute. Note: When conducting experiments, a higher KF value makes it easier to observe larger drops in the freezing point. For water, KF = 1.853 K
    Kelvin
    The kelvin is a unit of measurement for temperature. It is one of the seven base units in the International System of Units and is assigned the unit symbol K. The Kelvin scale is an absolute, thermodynamic temperature scale using as its null point absolute zero, the temperature at which all...

    ·kg/mol.
  • m is the molality (mol solute per kg of solvent)
  • i is the van 't Hoff factor
    Van 't Hoff factor
    The van 't Hoff factor i is a measure of the effect of a solute upon colligative properties, such as vapor pressure, osmotic pressure and freezing point depression. The van 't Hoff factor is the ratio between the actual concentration of particles produced when the substance is dissolved, and the...

     (number of solute particles per mol, e.g. i = 2 for NaCl).


This simple relation doesn't include the nature of the solute, so this is only effective in a diluted solution. For a more accurate calculation at a higher concentration, Ge and Wang (2010) proposed a new equation:

ΔTF ={ΔHfusTF - 2RTF·lnaliq - [2ΔCfuspTF2R·lnaliq + (ΔHfusTF)2]0.5} / [2(ΔHfusTF/ TF + 0.5ΔCfusp-Rlnaliq)]

In the above equation, TF is the normal freezing point of the pure solvent (0oC for water for example);aliq is the activity of the solution (water activity for aqueous solution); ΔHfusTF is the enthalpy change of fusion of the pure solvent at TF, which is 333.6 J/g for water at 0oC; ΔCfusp is the differences of heat capacity between the liquid and solid
phases at TF, which is 2.11 J/g/K for water.

The solvent activity can be calculated from Pitzer model or modified TCPC model, which typically requires 3 adjustable parameters. For the TCPC model, these parameters are available at reference for many single salts.

See also

  • Cryoscopic constant
    Cryoscopic constant
    In thermodynamics, the cryoscopic constant, Kf, allows one to relate molality to freezing point depression. It is the ratio of the latter to the former:\triangle T_f = K_f \cdot m \cdot i...

  • Boiling-point elevation
    Boiling-point elevation
    Boiling-point elevation describes the phenomenon that the boiling point of a liquid will be higher when another compound is added, meaning that a solution has a higher boiling point than a pure solvent. This happens whenever a non-volatile solute, such as a salt, is added to a pure solvent, such...

  • Eutectic point
    Eutectic point
    A eutectic system is a mixture of chemical compounds or elements that has a single chemical composition that solidifies at a lower temperature than any other composition. This composition is known as the eutectic composition and the temperature is known as the eutectic temperature...

  • Colligative properties
    Colligative properties
    Colligative properties are properties of solutions that depend on the number of molecules in a given volume of solvent and not on the properties/identity of the molecules. Colligative properties include: relative lowering of vapor pressure; elevation of boiling point; depression of freezing point...

  • List of boiling and freezing information of solvents
  • Snow removal
    Snow removal
    Snow removal is the job of removing snow after a snowfall to make travel easier and safer. This is done by both individual households and by governments and institutions.-De-icing and anti-icing:...

  • Frigorific mixture
    Frigorific mixture
    A frigorific mixture is a mixture of two or more chemicals that reaches an equilibrium temperature that is independent of the temperature of any of its component chemicals before they are mixed...