A substance changes from a solid to a liquid during the process of melting. What happens to the temperature and arrangement of the particles in the substances as it melts?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

First of all you need to understand that molecules have motion.  All molecules higher than the temperature of absolute zero (0 degrees Kelvin) move in proportion to their temperature.  In other words, hot molecules will have a higher degree of motion than cold molecules.  When a solid is heated up, its molecules will absorb that energy and increase their molecular motion.  So as the material goes from a solid to a liquid, the molecular motion increases as does the space between the molecules.  This increased space and motion is what allows a liquid to be less dense than a solid (in general) and allows it to move spontaneously to fill the space of its container.  Continued heating will allow the liquid to absorb even more energy and boil to become a gas, which is even less dense with more space between molecules and a higher degree of molecular motion than either a liquid or a solid.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team