Chemistry Question #166
Teresa Golebiewski, a 11 year old female from the Internet asks on April 22, 2000,
Why doesn't oil freeze? Would it freeze at -270 degrees?
viewed 13625 times
answered on April 22, 2000
Freezing means that something turns from a liquid state to a solid state. The molecules go from moving around as a liquid to a stationary solid crystal structure. The molecules of oils, fats, and waxes, unlike water molecules, are too long to form very good crystals, so they usually turn into amorphous lumps, like a lump of butter, or ear wax, when they are cooled. A good example of this is butter. Butter is a solid at normal room temperature, becomes harder when cooled, and will melt into a liquid when heated. Likewise, pure olive oil is a liquid at room temperature but turns solid when put it in the fridge. All oils would get pretty sticky, if not actually solid, at 270 degrees below zero.
Add to or comment on this answer using the form below.
Note: All submissions are moderated prior to posting.
If you found this answer useful, please consider making a small donation to science.ca.