3
$\begingroup$

I am working on a project in my chemistry class, and even though we've already finished the lab, I'm still confused as to why and how $\ce{MgCl2}$ melts ice/ lowers the freezing temperature of water. Can anybody tell me why this happens?

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

The $\ce{Mg^{2+}_{(aq)}}$ and $\ce{2Cl^{-}_{(aq)}}$ ions disrupt hydrogen bonding, preventing ice from forming a lattice structure. Therefor, the water must be colder so those weak hydrogen bonds will be acting on water molecules with less kinetic energy (i.e., colder), finally allowing them to create a crystal around the dissolved "impurities" $\ce{Mg^{2+}_{(aq)}}$ and $\ce{2Cl^{-}_{(aq)}}$.

This is a basic colligative property. Its more effective for electrolytes because they dissociate, creating more lattice disruptions. As a general resource, see: Ebbing, Darrell D., General Chemistry, 3rd ed, Houghton Mifflin, 1990.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.