# 14.3 Phase change and latent heat  (Page 4/9)

 Page 4 / 9

Sublimation is the transition from solid to vapor phase. You may have noticed that snow can disappear into thin air without a trace of liquid water, or the disappearance of ice cubes in a freezer. The reverse is also true: Frost can form on very cold windows without going through the liquid stage. A popular effect is the making of “smoke” from dry ice, which is solid carbon dioxide. Sublimation occurs because the equilibrium vapor pressure of solids is not zero. Certain air fresheners use the sublimation of a solid to inject a perfume into the room. Moth balls are a slightly toxic example of a phenol (an organic compound) that sublimates, while some solids, such as osmium tetroxide, are so toxic that they must be kept in sealed containers to prevent human exposure to their sublimation-produced vapors.

All phase transitions involve heat. In the case of direct solid-vapor transitions, the energy required is given by the equation $Q={\mathrm{mL}}_{\text{s}}$ , where ${L}_{\text{s}}$ is the heat of sublimation    , which is the energy required to change 1.00 kg of a substance from the solid phase to the vapor phase. ${L}_{\text{s}}$ is analogous to ${L}_{\text{f}}$ and ${L}_{\text{v}}$ , and its value depends on the substance. Sublimation requires energy input, so that dry ice is an effective coolant, whereas the reverse process (i.e., frosting) releases energy. The amount of energy required for sublimation is of the same order of magnitude as that for other phase transitions.

The material presented in this section and the preceding section allows us to calculate any number of effects related to temperature and phase change. In each case, it is necessary to identify which temperature and phase changes are taking place and then to apply the appropriate equation. Keep in mind that heat transfer and work can cause both temperature and phase changes.

## Problem-solving strategies for the effects of heat transfer

1. Examine the situation to determine that there is a change in the temperature or phase. Is there heat transfer into or out of the system? When the presence or absence of a phase change is not obvious, you may wish to first solve the problem as if there were no phase changes, and examine the temperature change obtained. If it is sufficient to take you past a boiling or melting point, you should then go back and do the problem in steps—temperature change, phase change, subsequent temperature change, and so on.
2. Identify and list all objects that change temperature and phase.
3. Identify exactly what needs to be determined in the problem (identify the unknowns). A written list is useful.
4. Make a list of what is given or what can be inferred from the problem as stated (identify the knowns).
5. Solve the appropriate equation for the quantity to be determined (the unknown). If there is a temperature change, the transferred heat depends on the specific heat (see [link] ) whereas, for a phase change, the transferred heat depends on the latent heat. See [link] .
6. Substitute the knowns along with their units into the appropriate equation and obtain numerical solutions complete with units. You will need to do this in steps if there is more than one stage to the process (such as a temperature change followed by a phase change).
7. Check the answer to see if it is reasonable: Does it make sense? As an example, be certain that the temperature change does not also cause a phase change that you have not taken into account.

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Timothy
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