In My textbook, it says about Bottomley's ice cutting experiment of regelation, that the latent heat required to melt the ice to water even at a lower melting point comes from the wire and the surrounding environment. This is why if the temperature of the surrounding environment is significantly less than 0°C, then the experiment cannot be conducted.

But i read somewhere else that, when we apply pressure we try to compress the solid. Meaning that we try to decrease the volume of the object. And because change in volume means some sort of work done, the 'latent heat' required to melt the ice is provided by the pressure aka work done on the ice.

Which explanation is correct? Or is the right explanation completely different? Also, why DOES the experiment not work in lower temperatures?


1 Answer 1


If you compress a sample of ice, you will find that its melt temperature decreases slightly. If that sample is already near its melting point, the pressure will be enough to make it melt- and when the pressure is removed, the water freezes back into ice.

However, if the ice sample is significantly below its freezing point, then the freezing point depression effect will not be enough to cause the ice to melt, and the experiment will not work.

  • $\begingroup$ But for the ice to convert to water latent heat is required. Where does this latent heat come from? $\endgroup$
    – ACRafi
    Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 10:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ And also I didn't ask whether or not the experiment works if the ice is at lower temperature. I asked whether or not the experiment works if the temperature of the surroundings is lower. $\endgroup$
    – ACRafi
    Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 16:03

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