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why does ice melt at room temperature

Why does ice melt faster in water( at room temp. ) than in air? Asked by:
Vishal. N. Buxani Keep in mind that temperature is the average kinetic energy of the particles in a substance, whereas heat is the total energy of all the particles. The air and water may have particles moving the same speeds, but the water has more heat because there are more particles. Picture it this way. The ice melts as fast moving particles slam into the slow moving ice particles. As in any collision, some of the energy is transferred to the ice particle, and with its new energy it can break out of the crystal and flow as a liquid water molecule.

To make the ice melt faster, you can use hotter (faster moving) particles to slam into it. This is why the ice melts faster on a hot day than a cold one. Alternatively, you can just use more collisions. The water is much more dense than the air, with many more particles per cubic millimeter. Thus even though the water molecules have the same kinetic energy as the air particles, there are many more of them hitting the ice each second, and the ice melts faster.

Answered by: Rob Landolfi, Science Teacher, Washington, DC The strictly technical and pedantic answer to your question: An ice cube doesn t melt at room temperature, it will stay at 0 degrees celsius (33 degrees Fahrenheit) untill the ice is completely melted. Only when the ice is completely melted will the temperature of the system rise.

This is because of all the energy put into the ice is consumed in converting the ice from solid water to liquid water. The latent heat of fusion/melting of water is 80 Joules per gram (it takes 80 joules to melt or freeze one gram of water). An ice cube melts at room temperature because it tries to come into thermal equilibrium with it s enviroment. Heat flows into the ice, which increases the total energy of the ice.

The molecules in the solid water start to vibrate faster and they get enough energy to break free of the electromagnetic attraction that holds the solid water molecules together. After these electromagnetic bonds break, the water becomes fluid. If you heat water to it s boiling point the same process occurs. The molecules vibrate enough and get so much energy that they can overcome the force of atmospheric pressure and the water molecules escape into the atmosphere.

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