Examples of sublimation include dry ice transforming from a solid to a gas without melting, naphthalene balls shrinking as they release vapor, camphor crystals disappearing into vapor, and the disappearance of icicles as they sublimate into water vapor in cold conditions.
Examples of Sublimation
Table of Contents
Here are a few Examples of Sublimation in daily life:
1. Dry ice
Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. It sublimates at atmospheric pressure. This means that it changes directly from a solid to a gas without melting into a liquid.
Sublimation occurs when the molecules of a substance have enough energy to escape from the solid phase without first entering the liquid phase. This requires a lot of energy, which is why dry ice is so cold.
When you put dry ice in a drink, it sublimates and creates a dramatic, smoky effect. This is because the dry ice is much colder than the liquid in the drink. The heat from the liquid causes the dry ice to sublimate, which releases carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide gas then bubbles up through the liquid, creating the smoky effect.
Camphor is a white, crystalline substance that has a strong, aromatic odor. It is found in some plants, such as the camphor tree. Camphor sublimates at room temperature, meaning that it changes directly from a solid to a gas without melting into a liquid.
Camphor mothballs are used to repel moths. The camphor sublimates and releases a vapor that is unpleasant to moths. This vapor drives the moths away and protects your clothes from being eaten.
Iodine is a dark purple solid that sublimates at room temperature. This means that it changes directly from a solid to a gas without melting into a liquid.
Iodine is used in water purification tablets to kill harmful bacteria and parasites in water. When the tablet is dissolved in water, the iodine sublimates and releases a vapor that kills the bacteria and parasites.
4. Naphthalene mothballs
Naphthalene mothballs are made from a chemical compound called naphthalene. Naphthalene sublimates at room temperature, meaning that it changes directly from a solid to a gas without melting into a liquid.
When you put naphthalene mothballs in a closet, the naphthalene sublimates and releases a vapor that repels moths. This vapor protects your clothes from being eaten.
Snow can sublimate in cold, dry conditions. This means that the ice crystals on the snow’s surface turn directly into water vapor without melting into liquid water.
When you put snow outside in the winter, it will eventually sublimate and turn into water vapor. This is because the air is usually cold and dry in the winter. The heat from the air causes the snow to sublimate, which releases water vapor into the atmosphere.
6. Freeze-drying of food
Freeze-drying is a process where frozen food is exposed to reduced pressure, causing the water within the food to sublimate, leaving behind a dehydrated product.
Freeze-dried food is often used by backpackers and campers because it is lightweight and has a long shelf life. When you are ready to eat the food, you simply add water to it and it will rehydrate.
7. Dye sublimation printing
Dye sublimation printing is a process where solid dye particles are heated to a gaseous state and then directly transferred onto a surface, such as fabric or paper, without turning into a liquid.
Dye sublimation printing is often used to create high-quality prints on fabric, such as t-shirts and sportswear.
In cold conditions, icicles on roofs can gradually disappear as the ice sublimates, turning directly into water vapor. This is because the ice in the icicles is exposed to air, which is usually cold and dry in the winter. The heat from the air causes the ice to sublimate, which releases water vapor into the atmosphere.
Mothballs are small balls of a chemical compound called paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene. These compounds sublimate at room temperature, meaning that they change directly from a solid to a gas without melting into a liquid.
Mothballs are used to repel moths. The paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene sublimates and releases a vapor that is unpleasant to moths. This vapor drives the moths away and protects your clothes from being eaten.
10. Sublimation of frozen CO2 in space
In space, frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice) can sublimate in the absence of atmospheric pressure, transitioning directly into gaseous CO2.
This is because the dry ice is not exposed to air, which is necessary for it to melt. The heat from the sun causes the dry ice to sublimate, which releases CO2 gas into space.
11. Ammonium chloride
When ammonium chloride is heated, it sublimates, producing dense white fumes. This is a phase transition in which a solid changes directly into a gas without passing through a liquid phase. Ammonium chloride is a white crystalline solid that sublimes at around 337 degrees Celsius (639 degrees Fahrenheit).
Ammonium chloride sublimation is often used in chemical demonstrations to produce a dramatic effect.
For example, a small amount of ammonium chloride can be placed in a test tube and heated over a Bunsen burner. As the ammonium chloride sublimates, it will produce a cloud of white fumes that can fill the entire classroom.
12. P-dichlorobenzene crystals
P-dichlorobenzene crystals are a common ingredient in moth-repellent products. These crystals sublimate at room temperature, releasing a vapor that deters moths and other pests. P-dichlorobenzene is a white crystalline solid that sublimates at around 53 degrees Celsius (127 degrees Fahrenheit).
P-dichlorobenzene sublimation is a gradual process, so moth-repellent products containing p-dichlorobenzene crystals can last for several months.
13. Carbon dioxide in fire extinguishers
Fire extinguishers containing carbon dioxide (CO2) use sublimation to suppress fires. CO2 is a colorless, odorless gas that is stored in fire extinguishers as a liquid. When the fire extinguisher is discharged, the liquid CO2 expands and sublimates, forming a cloud of CO2 gas.
The CO2 gas displaces oxygen in the air, making it difficult for the fire to burn. CO2 fire extinguishers are especially effective at extinguishing fires caused by flammable liquids, such as gasoline and oil.
14. Iced tea crystals in the freezer
If you forget an iced tea in the freezer, the ice cubes can sublimate over time, shrinking and converting directly to water vapor. Sublimation is a phase transition in which a solid changes directly into a gas without passing through a liquid phase.
Ice sublimates at around 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). However, the sublimation process can be accelerated by wind and low humidity. This is why snow and ice often disappear more quickly on windy days or in dry climates.
15. Perfume and cologne
Solid perfumes and colognes that are rubbed onto the skin sublimate, releasing their fragrance. Sublimation is a phase transition in which a solid changes directly into a gas without passing through a liquid phase.
Solid perfumes and colognes are made by mixing fragrance oils with a solid base material, such as wax or alcohol. The solid base material helps to slow down the sublimation process, so that the fragrance will last longer.
16. Inkjet printer cartridges
Inkjet printer cartridges contain solid ink particles that sublimate when heated, creating a fine mist of ink that is sprayed onto the paper. Sublimation is a phase transition in which a solid changes directly into a gas without passing through a liquid phase.
When the inkjet printer head heats up, the solid ink particles in the cartridge sublimate, forming a fine mist of ink droplets. The ink droplets are then sprayed onto the paper, where they dry quickly and produce a high-quality print.
17. 3D printing
3D printing uses a process called fused deposition modeling (FDM), where a solid filament of plastic is heated until it melts and then extruded through a nozzle to create the desired shape. The melted plastic then cools and solidifies. However, if the plastic is not heated enough, it may sublimate instead of melt, resulting in a porous or weak print.
Sublimation is a phase transition in which a solid changes directly into a gas without passing through a liquid phase. When plastic sublimates, it leaves behind a gas that contains tiny plastic particles. These particles can be harmful if they are inhaled, so it is important to ventilate the area when using a 3D printer.
18. Vacuum freeze-drying
Vacuum freeze-drying is a process that uses sublimation to remove water from food and other materials. The material is first frozen and then placed in a vacuum chamber. The reduced pressure in the chamber causes the water in the material to sublimate, leaving behind a dry product.
19. Air fresheners
Some air fresheners contain solid particles that sublimate into a gas, releasing a pleasant scent. These solid particles are typically made of a wax or alcohol base, with fragrance oils added. When the air freshener is heated, the solid particles sublimate, releasing the fragrance oils into the air.
Some deodorants contain solid particles that sublimate into a gas, helping to control body odor. These solid particles are typically made of an aluminum salt, such as aluminum chlorohydrate.
When the deodorant is applied to the skin, the solid particles sublimate, forming a thin layer of aluminum salt on the surface of the skin. This layer of aluminum salt helps to block sweat ducts and prevent odor-causing bacteria from growing.
21. Pharmaceutical tablets
Some pharmaceutical tablets are coated with a thin layer of solid that sublimates, helping to protect the tablet from moisture and degradation. This coating is typically made of a polymer, such as hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC).
When the tablet is exposed to moisture, the HPMC coating sublimates, forming a protective barrier around the tablet. This barrier helps to keep the tablet dry and prevents it from breaking down.
22. Freeze-dried coffee
Freeze-dried coffee is made by freeze-drying coffee beans. Freeze-drying is a process that removes water from food and other materials by sublimation.
The coffee beans are first frozen and then placed in a vacuum chamber. The reduced pressure in the chamber causes the water in the coffee beans to sublimate, leaving behind a dry product.