MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Why does wind melt ice?

Date: Wed Apr 11 11:05:37 2001
Posted By: Sojo Luis E., Staff, Reseach and Development, Axelson Biopharma Research
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 986249129.Ch


That is a very interesting question.  The metling of ice requires the 
addition of heat in order to liberate the water molecules that are tied up 
together in the form of ice.  By adding heat the molecules increase their 
motion allowing them to break out from the bonds (called Hydrogen bonds) 
keeping them together.  The result is the liquid form of ice: water.  
Blowing air to ice may result in an increase of the temperature near the 
ice surface therefore allowing the ice to melt faster than if no air were 
being blown at it.  Adding salt also help in the melting of ice, but at a  
signifianctly lower rate.  The process is a bit different here, since the 
melting is due to the fact that water molecules on the surface of the ice 
start to dissolve the salt.  These molecules, on the surface of the ice, 
are bound to the rest of the ice from one "side" only if you will, the 
other "side" is pointing at the air. So surface molecules are not "in a 
cage" like the those molecules inside the ice, therefore they are similar 
to liquid molecules. These surface molecules will then start to dissolve 
the salt and in the process they are released from the ice surface and 
become liquid.  This process is slower that than of ice melting by blowing 

Jessica I hope this answers your question

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