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Sublimation

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That Cold Gush of Smoke

Why is carbon dioxide so smoky?

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Carbon dioxide undergoing change from its solid form to its gas form [Figure1]

In our everyday lives, we often see substances change from solid to liquid (melting), and from liquid to gas (evaporation). But there are cases where substances change directly from a solid to a gas.

Carbon dioxide exists naturally as a gas. We often see it in the form of smoke. However, people can make dry ice, which is carbon dioxide in solid form. But do we ever see carbon dioxide as a liquid?

The answer is no. Given the temperature and pressure that humans live in, carbon dioxide can only exist in its gas form. 

Creative Applications

1. Why does carbon dioxide undergo sublimation?

2. Explain what is going on when smoke starts coming out of dry ice.

3. How could something that goes from solid to gas might be useful in our everyday lives?

Resources

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/sublimation_%28chemistry%29 

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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