I'm probably not entirely right, but evaporation differs from boiling in that it is surface rather than bulk phenomenon driven by a pressure gradient rather than temperature. If a volume of liquid is placed in a container with equal or greater volume that contains no other matter, the amount of liquid that evaporates depends on the difference in the volumes, which wouldn't be the case for boiling. My question is if solids do a similar "pressure-driven surface sublimation". I've never heard or observed something like that happening, and if it doesn't, why would liquids do it but not solids?


Hanging clothes on a cold and windy (to aid evaporation) day often results in the clothes becoming stiff due to some of the water on the clothes freezing. The clothes will then continue to dry as sublimation occurs with ice being directed converted into water vapour.

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You may have noticed that the amount of snow decreases due to sublimation (no visible melting) even though the air temperature is below freezing and ice cubes getting smaller in your freezer.

  • $\begingroup$ Oh wow I never noticed stuff like that, gonna try that freezer thing $\endgroup$
    – BatWannaBe
    May 24 '18 at 10:02
  • $\begingroup$ @BatWannaBe You might have already seen the results of sublimation? onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/… $\endgroup$
    – Farcher
    May 24 '18 at 10:16
  • $\begingroup$ Does that mean a humidifier in a freezer would prevent freezer burn? $\endgroup$
    – BatWannaBe
    May 24 '18 at 11:31
  • $\begingroup$ @BatWannaBe The problem is that the svp of water vapour at the temperature of a freezer is very, very low (one thousands of an atmosphere at minus twenty degrees Celsius). So any water vapour that you add to the freezer will just freeze and form ice layers. Ice is a very poor conductor of heat which means that the efficiency of the freezer will be reduced. Keeping produce in a sealed bag with as little air in it as possible helps to preserve food for longer. $\endgroup$
    – Farcher
    May 24 '18 at 12:15
  • $\begingroup$ There are buildings in your photo. They are solid and must have been there for a long time, bet obviously haven't evaporated yet. $\endgroup$
    – safesphere
    May 24 '18 at 17:22

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