February 18, 2020, 07:22:46 PM
Forum Rules: Read This Before Posting

Topic: Phase Diagrams and Negative Slope of the Solid-Liquid Boundary Line  (Read 29141 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

bhushana209

• Very New Member
• Posts: 2
• Mole Snacks: +0/-0
Phase Diagrams and Negative Slope of the Solid-Liquid Boundary Line
« on: February 21, 2010, 02:53:30 PM »
Why does water's phase diagram have a solid-liquid boundary line with a negative slope, unlike most compounds? I know it is because "liquid is more dense", but was looking for a more in-depth explanation. (I don't really understand what density has to do with a phase diagram?)
Greatly appreciated,
Shay

renge ishyo

• Chemist
• Full Member
• Posts: 403
• Mole Snacks: +67/-14
Re: Phase Diagrams and Negative Slope of the Solid-Liquid Boundary Line
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2010, 01:51:56 PM »
It has to do with the pressure and the density or "compactness" of the two phases in question.

Normally, molecules are farther apart in the liquid phase than they are in the solid phase. So if you start at a certain temperature below the solid/liquid line in the liquid phase for a normal compound and go up on the graph (raise the pressure) while remaining at the same temperature you will go from the liquid to the solid because the increase in pressure can be relieved by bringing the molecules closer together in the more compact solid phase. But for water the more compact phase is the liquid phase, not the solid phase. So if you start under the line and raise the pressure for water, the added pressure can be relieved by converting the less dense solid ice to the more compact liquid water.

The same logic applies in both cases, the order is just reversed because the density differences between the two phases are reversed.