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Author Topic: Will ice melt in a cold, dark vacuum?  (Read 7665 times)

Offline thedoc

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Will ice melt in a cold, dark vacuum?
« on: 15/08/2012 13:44:45 »
Will ice melt in dark vacuum if the temperature of the base on which it is kept is equal to its temperature?



Asked by Aman Sharma


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« Last Edit: 15/08/2012 13:44:45 by _system »


 

Offline chris

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Re: Will ice melt in a cold, dark vacuum?
« Reply #1 on: 17/07/2012 23:07:49 »
I presume it cannot sublime that rapidly because NASA have found traces of water in a cold dark crater on the Moon... but what does everyone else think?
 

Offline Supercryptid

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Re: Will ice melt in a cold, dark vacuum?
« Reply #2 on: 08/08/2012 22:20:48 »
Based on the water phase diagram, water cannot exist as liquid below the triple point (0.006 atmospheres of pressure and 0.01 degrees Celsius). A true vacuum would have no pressure, so the ice could not melt into a liquid. It could, however, sublimate into a gas. Indeed, based again on what I can see of the water phase diagram, any temperature above absolute zero should cause ice to eventually sublimate into a gas in a perfect vacuum. That would probably take an extremely long time, since the low internal energy of the ice block would make it difficult for any one water molecule to acquire enough energy to be jostled free from the mass.

Unfortunately, water phase diagrams tend to differ from one-another when I look at them. Some diagrams seem to indicate that sufficiently-cold ice would be stable in a vacuum...
« Last Edit: 08/08/2012 22:24:02 by Supercryptid »
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Will ice melt in a cold, dark vacuum?
« Reply #3 on: 09/08/2012 19:16:16 »
For any given temperature, the ice will have a vapour pressure. If the amount of water vapour round the ice is less than the vapour pressure then the ice will evaporate.
No matter how cold you get it, the ice will evaporate if the pressure is low enough.
 

Offline thedoc

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Hear the answer to this question on our show
« Reply #4 on: 15/08/2012 15:48:26 »
We discussed this question on our  show
Chris -  [In our previous question,] you're saying that your body fluids exposed to a very low pressure will boil and therefore, you will lose them as a gas. So if I had some ice in space, what happens to that? Does that boil off as well?Ē
Dominic -  Yes. Boil isnít actually quite the right word because boiling is going from a liquid state to a gaseous state. In fact, the very low temperatures in the dark coldness of space, there is no liquid state. You go straight from solid ice to vapour. So the word is 'sublime' for going from a solid to a gas, but ice particles will tend to sublime into the gaseous state, yes.
Click to visit the show page for the podcast in which this question is answered. Alternatively, listen to the answer now or [download as MP3]
« Last Edit: 01/01/1970 01:00:00 by _system »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Will ice melt in a cold, dark vacuum?
« Reply #5 on: 15/08/2012 15:57:52 »
For any given temperature, the ice will have a vapour pressure. If the amount of water vapour round the ice is less than the vapour pressure then the ice will evaporate.
No matter how cold you get it, the ice will evaporate if the pressure is low enough.

Gravity, and a very thin atmosphere must be sufficient to keep ice in the craters of the moon, and on dwarf planets such as Pluto.

Even comets seem to be able to hold onto (and possibly form) ice when they are in regions of space distant from the sun.
 

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Re: Will ice melt in a cold, dark vacuum?
« Reply #5 on: 15/08/2012 15:57:52 »

 

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