Sublimation Facts: Understand This Scientific Process Better | Kidadl


Sublimation Facts: Understand This Scientific Process Better

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Sublimation is the conversion from solid state to the gaseous state without passing through the liquid phase.

Sublimation, like any other chemical process, occurs more spontaneously under specific weather conditions like low humidity and cold temperatures. Sublimation occurs, particularly at high altitudes with low air pressure.

This chemical process has been used in different sectors of science for ages. The evaporation of frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice) at a normal temperature and atmospheric pressure is one example. Sublimation of water from frozen food under a high vacuum is also used to freeze-dry food in order to preserve it.

Discovery Of The Sublimation Process

Alchemists constructed a system of basic laboratory procedures, theories, nomenclature, and experimental methods in ancient alchemy, a protoscience that contributed to the formation of modern chemistry and medicine.

Sublimation was originally intended to describe the process in which a substance is heated to vapor and subsequently settles as sediment on the heating medium. The term 'sublimation' has been in use since the late 1550s and is derived from the Latin term 'sublimates', which means 'to lift up'. However the process was originally explained in the 700s by Jabir ibn Hayyan (Gerber) famously known as the 'Father of Chemistry.'

Examples Of Sublimation

Dry ice, a frozen form of carbon dioxide, is one of the best examples of sublimation. When dry ice is exposed to air, it undergoes a direct solid form to gaseous phase change, resulting in fog. It can also be seen in the chemical molecule naphthalene. This organic compound is sublimated by the presence of polar molecules, which are supported by intermolecular van der Waals forces, and it is easier to acquire the minimum energy to overcome forces of attraction. The sublimation of ice into steam can result in frozen burns. At the correct temperature, the elements iodine and arsenic transition from a solid state to a gaseous state.

Most substances only sublimate at low pressure.

Applications Of Sublimation

Sublimation has major applications in both nature and science. It is a purification process used by chemists to purify volatile substances. Freeze-drying is a common application of sublimation in the frozen food sector. The product's structure is likewise preserved, and after rehydration, it has great quality.

Dye-sublimation printers have taken the place of inkjet printers. Because the prints dry faster, the printouts are ready to use as soon as they exit the printer. These printers are simple to maintain and have few moving parts. It is also widely used in the textile industry, where it is used to print synthetic textiles such as polyester. It is used to print a variety of things, such as pens, purses, and coffee mugs, at a lower cost. It is environmentally friendly and safe, and there is no trash generated during the process.

Other Miscellaneous Facts

Sublimation has practical uses in forensic science as well. When the suspended matrix is allowed to sublimate away, any compound can be recovered in its crude form. This method of recovery is usually gentle, which is advantageous in preserving the chemical structure or even activity of the target drug (cocaine) or enzyme. Sublimation of the element arsenic from a solid to a gaseous form is also possible. With the use of iodine sublimation, latent fingerprints on paper can be revealed.


Q: Why is sublimation important?

A: Sublimation can be important in the recovery of compounds that are suspended or dissolved in a fluid or a solid like dry ice, and it has many uses in dry sublimation printing and forensic science.

Q: Who discovered sublimation?

A: The process was originally explained in the 700s by Jabir ibn Hayyan (Gerber).

Q: How is sublimation used in everyday life?

A: It has various uses in everyday life, like in solid air fresheners, naphthalene mothballs, ice crystals on frozen foods, and dry sublimation printers.

Q: Can snow sublimate?

A: Yes, snow can sublimate. Snow sublimation occurs when the snow converts to water vapor directly, resulting in the loss of water from the snowpack to the atmosphere.

Q: What would happen if sublimation didn't occur?

A: It would transition straight from a liquid to a gas without having to go through the liquid state, which can hinder many natural processes like the water cycle.

Q: Where does sublimation occur on Earth?

A: It occurs when there is low relative humidity and dry winds. It is also more common at higher elevations, where the atmospheric pressure is lower than at lower elevations.

Q: Is smoking a form of sublimation?

A: No, smoking is a chemically irreversible process, but sublimation is a reversible physical process.

Q: Which metal can be purified by sublimation?

A: Under extreme temperatures, iodine can be purified by sublimation.

Q: Does sublimation release heat?

A: Yes, for the process of sublimation to succeed, a particular amount of energy must be given to a substance by heat or work.

<p>With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature.&nbsp;</p>

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