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Heating Curves

Heating Curves

Heating CurveIntroduction: Heating help us to monitor changes in temperature through time as heat is added to a substance. Heating curves involve endothermic, physical changes, or changes in the arrangement of particles in a substance that involve the absorption of heat. Heating curves relate to processes like the melting of an ice cube from your freezer on a hot day to the point that it becomes a liquid. In this instance, if more heat is added to the liquid form of water resulting from the melting of this ice cube, the liquid will eventually evaporate, forming a gas. On heating curves, when the temperature is increasing, the particles of one phase (solid, liquid, or gas) are moving faster as a result of increased average kinetic energy. When the temperature is not changing on a heating curve, however, two phases exist - during the process of melting, evaporation, or sublimation.

Heating curves are also important, in that they enable us to determine key temperatures used to identify specific substances. Melting and boiling points can be determined, based on temperatures at which plateaus exist. Melting and boiling points are characteristics that are often used to characterize many organic compounds in college-level chemistry laboratory courses. Without heating curves, we would not be able to quantitatively represent and analyzing changes in the types of energy changing in the molecules of a substance.


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