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If the atmospheric pressure increased, would that help stop the melting?

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tdj4325 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted August 8, 2012 at 7:27 PM via web

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If the atmospheric pressure increased, would that help stop the melting?

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bandmanjoe | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted August 11, 2012 at 5:39 PM (Answer #1)

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Probably not.  Temperature is the measure of the kinetic energy of the particles within a substance, or, how much the particles are moving around, vibrating in place.  An object that has a higher temperature has particles that possess more energy, they vibrate more.  If you think about a pressure cooker, the concept there is to speed up the cooking time of food by placing it under higher pressure, created by sealing off the cooking pot and letting the pressure build as the temperature turns water to steam inside.  The increased pressure here directly fuels the particles of food ability to increase in kinetic energy, resulting in the food cooking faster.  If you raise the pressure, you in effect raise the temperature, which will accelerate the melting, not decelerate it.  On the other hand, if this is true, then decreasing the pressure should lower the energy at which particles vibrate, creating a lower temperature, which should have an impact on melting.

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