Video: Recalling the Opposite of Sublimation

What is the name given to the process in which sublimation is reversed?


Video Transcript

What is the name given to the process in which sublimation is reversed?

To figure out what this name is, let’s first consider what the process of sublimation is. The word sublimation has to do with states of matter, in particular, with transitioning from one state of matter to another. We can recall that the three primary states of matter are solids, liquids, and gases.

From experience, we know that it’s possible for a material to change states. That is, if it starts in one state of matter, say as a liquid, then it’s possible for it to transition either to a gas or to a solid. It doesn’t always have to stay in the same state of matter. These transitions between states of matter have been given names. For example, when a liquid becomes a gas, that’s called evaporation. And when a liquid turns into a solid, that’s known as freezing.

This name, we’ve been given in the problem statement, sublimation, is the name for another type of phase change. Sublimation is what occurs when we start out as a solid. And then, instead of going from a solid to a liquid, we jump the liquid phase and go straight to the gas phase. If you’ve ever seen water vapour rising off of a frozen block of ice, then you’ve seen sublimation in action, going from a solid straight to a gas phase.

Our question asks what’s the name given to the process which is the reverse or the opposite of sublimation. In other words, if we start out as a gas and then transition straight to a solid without going through the liquid phase, there is a name for that process. And the name is deposition. This is the name we give to the process when a gas changes state to become a solid, without becoming a liquid first.

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