What are the boiling points of DMSO-water concentrations with respect to wt% DMSO? I have found extensive information on the freezing point change of wt% DMSO but nothing regarding boiling.

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    $\begingroup$ Figure 14 from gaylordchemical.com/products/literature/… seems relevant. $\endgroup$ May 30, 2017 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ DMSO was FDA approved to medically store human tissue (organs, samples, etc.) down to much lower temps than the freezing point of water, when tissue is immersed in a 50/50 mixture of DMSO and water. Method of storing tissue was Proposed to FDA in the 1960’s by Dr. Stanley Jacob, a surgeon working at an Oregon hospital. $\endgroup$ Feb 22, 2020 at 16:36

1 Answer 1


The binary mixture of water and DMSO do not form an azeotrope (a constant boiling mixture, where the vapour produced has fixed percentages of each component). Thus, water will boil from the solution first at a bit above 100 ºC, followed by the boiling of DMSO at around 189 ºC.

The reason for the drastic change in freezing point is a little more complicated. Freezing point depression is a common phenomenon; for example, it's the reason sea water freezes at a lower temperature than pure water. In these cases, the reason for the freezing point depression are typically entropic.

However, in the case of DMSO and water, the depression is of particular note—mixtures can remain liquid down to -140 ºC, compared to the normal freezing points of 0 ºC and 19 ºC for water and DMSO, respectively. Quantum mechanical studies have suggested that the formation of DMSO-water clusters is at least partially responsible for the massive freezing point depression. These clusters are strongly hydrogen-bonded, but interact far less strongly with other clusters, making it more difficult to form a solid lattice (and thus a solid).

Kirchner, B.; Reiher, M. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2002, 124 (21), pp 6206–6215

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. Why does the freezing point change so drastically then? chemistry-chemists.com/N3_2011/U/DMSO-technical_bulletin.pdf $\endgroup$ May 30, 2017 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ I've edited the solution to discuss the reasons behind the freezing point depression;it may be good to edit your question and title to reflect this. $\endgroup$
    – JSK
    May 30, 2017 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ The freezing part is fine, but your description of boiling is misleading. Water will not boil at around 100 ºC (unless your solution is mostly water), nor will it boil alone. $\endgroup$ May 30, 2017 at 19:45

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