What Makes Ice Slippery Compared to Other Solids? A Combination of Factors?

Chemistry, Physics
[caption id="attachment_17673" align="alignleft" width="380"] Image: Tvb hof - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0[/caption] “Be careful if you will be driving this evening,” the weather forecaster declares. “The road will be a sheet of ice.” Whether tar and gravel, asphalt, or concrete, roads most of the year are not slippery. Yet come winter, those roads can be dangerously slippery. What makes ice and icy roads so slippery? What Makes Ice Slippery One line of thinking is that ice is slippery because water (H₂O) expands as it freezes. When a heavy object rests upon a sheet of ice, the pressure imparts energy to the molecules immediately beneath the weight, pressing them down, melting it. The water acts much like a lubricant, making the ice slippery. In truth, if the ice is reasonably…
Read More

Why Sulfuric Acid Turns Sugar Black

Sugar is white. Sulfuric acid is colorless. So how is it sulfuric acid turns sugar black? Table sugar is actually two sugars in one—a disaccharide. It is commonly known as sucrose. Sucrose is a combination of fructose, a sugar found in fruits, and glucose, known also as blood-sugar, grape-sugar, and corn-sugar. Its chemical formula is C₁₂H₂₂O₁₁. The way these atoms are attached to each other by chemical bonds determines its structural formula. In the Left Corner… Most sugar from a grocery store is granular and pure white. If the grains are large enough—existing as large crystals—it is immediately apparent that sugar isn't even white; it is totally colorless and transparent. Sold at candy stores, we call it rock candy. [sc name="MidArticleAdsense"] In the Right Corner… Concentrated sulfuric acid is thick…
Read More

Transition from Ice to Water to Vapor

[caption id="attachment_5490" align="alignright" width="440"] Hydrogen Bonding - CCA SA 3.0 Unported by Magasjukur2[/caption] The transition from ice to water to steam. What happens? A block of ice has a temperature well below freezing and is warmed gradually. It reaches above the boiling point. What transitions occur along the way? What are the processes? Transition: Solid to Liquid At first, the heat supplied simply increases the temperature of the ice. The temperature of the surface is somewhat warmer than the ice inside. It takes time for heat to penetrate. Eventually, the outer layer of the ice reaches the melting point. The outside ice melts first—then the inner ice. [caption id="attachment_5491" align="alignleft" width="220"] Melting Ice[/caption] During melting, the heat energy is spent breaking the stiff hydrogen bonds. None of it is spent…
Read More