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Glossary Index

Avalanche Institute


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Heat of Fusion

Also: Latent Heat, (Latent) Heat of Melting, Heat of Solidification

The heat of fusion is the heat in calories required to convert 1 g of a material from the solid to the liquid state at its standard melting temperature. When the change is from the liquid state to the solid state this heat is released.

When heat is added to a solid, the kinetic energy of the molecules in the solid increases and the increased motion of the molecules is reflected by a rise in the temperature of the solid. When the melting point of the substance is reached, however, the temperature remains constant as the change of phase occurs. The continued addition of heat at that temperature is used to cause changes in potential energy, which result in the loosening of bonds between the molecules. The heat required to change a solid to a liquid with no change in temperature is called the latent heat of fusion.

For ice/water the heat of fusion is 80 calories per gram.

See also "Heat of Vaporization"

This glossary is a work in progress and is made possible by AlpenPro.