Someone has argued that the table sitting in front of us is 'frozen'. I do agree that the table has a freezing point. The table has a melting point, but that is beyond the ignition point and the boiling point is even further beyond that. If an object only exists in one state can you call it frozen? Secondly, I think that there is some disconnect because I was arguing more from a sociological stand point. I think that the definition is more subjective. If I call a wooden bowl frozen, it would hinder the meaning of the sentence from an outsiders stand point. What do you think? Can you say that the table in front of you is frozen?

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    $\begingroup$ A wooden table does not have a melting point per se. While there is a product called 'liquid wood', it is not molten wood. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Sep 21 '15 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ Honestly, this is not a chemistry question. The answer is based on what you interpret "frozen" to mean. $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. Sep 21 '15 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is a philosophical, not a chemical question. $\endgroup$ – Jan Dec 9 '16 at 19:25

The technical definition of 'freezing' implies a phase transition from liquid to solid, and therefore one assumes your interpretation requires that a table can at some point be a liquid.

Under normal circumstances, being a solid does not necessarily imply something is frozen, because not all materials can exist as liquid. Heating some materials will simply lead to (i) phase transition through sublimation or (ii) combustion or decomposition (a chemical reaction) leading to a both gaseous and solid products.

Presumably, the table you are pondering is made of wood. Wood is a mixture, composed of mostly cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. The ratios depend on the wood type, and there are a few other bits in there also. Importantly, wood, even tables, still contain water. Under standard conditions one might expect to find a table (normal pressures), simply heating will not cause your table to melt. Above about 100oC, decomposition products are slowly released from the bulk wood; noncombustible carbon dioxide, water vapour and trace organics. Cellulose decomposes above about 250oC, and hemicellulose somewhat below that. Lignin begins to decompose above about 150oC, but has a large decomposition range.

Now, if you could heat a table under immense pressure, you may be able to influence the decomposition rates to a point where you could possibly get these materials to melt rather than simply decompose. Heating wood under moist high pressure conditions is known to impart an element of plasticity to some woods, so that it can be bent. I'm not confident that you could melt it though.

So I would call your table simply solid, not frozen.


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