Force and Pressure


Regelation is basically the phenomenon where the ice melts to the water below 0°C when pressure is applied and it refreezes back to ice when the pressure is removed. In this article, we will go through it in detail and study about regelation of ice, its examples, procedure and many more interesting things in a comprehensive manner. Thus, it will clear all your queries regarding this topic.


Introduction to Regelation

Regelation demonstrates the idea of compressing the ice and turning it into water under pressure and when the pressure removes, it will solidify again. For instance, the glaciers act as a source of the river because of regelation.

Under suitable conditions, liquid water flows from the base of the glacier to lower altitudes when the temperature of the air is above the freezing point of water. Similarly, there is the preparation of the ice ball.

Regelation of Ice

In order to understand the regelation of ice, it is easier to perform an experiment on an ice slab through the use of a metallic wire. Let us take a look at the procedure of the experiment.

For the experiment, you will require a slab of ice along with a metallic wire. Take the wire and fix two blocks at its ends of 5 kg each. Now, put the wire over the slab.


When you are done with this, you will observe that the wire will gradually penetrate and pass through the slab of ice. This takes place because of the fact that the ice melts at a lower temperature because of the increase in pressure just below the wire.

When the wire will cross, the water above the wire will solidify. Henceforth, the wire will pass through the slab without splitting it. Thus, we refer to this phenomenon of refreezing as regelation.

Over here, the melting point of the ice becomes lower than 0°C because of the applied pressure. In other words, this implies that at 0°C ice is converted into water and as soon as the pressure removes.

As a result, the melting point restores back to 0°C and the water converts back to ice again. Thus, it is because of regelation that skating can take place on snow because of water forms. Meaning to say, the water forms because there is an increase in pressure and thus it acts as a lubricant.

Examples of Regelation

We will take a look at some examples of this to get a better understanding. First of all, we have glaciers. They act as a source of the river because of regelation. The mass of the glacier exerts pressure on the lower surface. This lowers the melting point of the ice at its base.

Thus, it results in the ice melting and propelling the glacier to slide over the liquid. Next example is preparing an ice ball. When any ice slab shreds into pieces, the shredded pieces are pressurized around the stick’s tip for preparing the ice ball.

If you will take two small pieces of ice and press them against each other, it will stick to each other. Further, the glacier is also a source of the river because of regelation. Skating is possible on snow because water forms only for regelation.

FAQ on Regelation

Question 1: What are Regelation and sublimation?

Answer 1: When pressure is applied to ice, it melts. As soon as the pressure is removed, it freezes again. We refer to this phenomenon as regelation. On the other hand, sublimation happens when boiling point is less than the melting point.

Question 2: What is Regelation example?

Answer 2: It refers to the phenomenon of ice melting under pressure and refreezing when the pressure reduces. One can demonstrate it by looping a fine wire around a block of ice, by attaching heavyweight to it. For instance, a pressure of 500 atmospheres is required for ice to melt at −4 °C.

Question 3: Does compressed ice melt?

Answer 3: Packed ice is basically a completely solid block, and it allows placement of any objects on top. Unlike normal ice, packed ice does not melt if we place it near light sources. Packed ice is not a storage block as we cannot craft it back into ice.

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