This might sound like science fiction but I am trying to learn if there is a chemical or material that can convert cold into heat. It also could be kinetic as well. An example would be placing a chemical in cold environment where it becomes warm. Thank you for your help.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Might Chemistry be better suited for your question? $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 12:11
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You can't convert a lack of energy into energy. But you can maybe trigger a reaction that would let loose potential energy trapped inside of that matter. $\endgroup$
    – MaDrung
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 12:16
  • $\begingroup$ Wiki page on the 2nd law of thermodynamics $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ "Looking for chemicals to melt ice" Salt! $\endgroup$
    – Steeven
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 13:12

1 Answer 1


You would be looking for some type of exothermic reaction with the ice.

Salting the ice actually does this (slightly). It also lowers the freezing temperature of water; which the the main reason it melts the ice.

With enough of a salt you could absolutely heat up ice. If you wanted to use it to remove snow and ice you might run into other issues; for example it may add heat to the water; but if it's cold outside the water will cool down again once the reaction stops.

Also note that I don't mean only table salt (NaCl); this happens with many different salts; when they disassociate in water they release some energy from the bond (which is the exothermic reaction).

  • $\begingroup$ It seems counterintuitive that releasing energy from an already-frozen material would cause it to melt, but I guess what's actually happening is converting a pure substance below its freezing point to a solution above its freezing point, with an incidental and unrelated decrease in energy. $\endgroup$
    – Asher
    Commented Mar 4, 2018 at 0:25

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