The Effect of Non-Volatile Solutes on Freezing Point Depression

During harsh weather conditions, satellites often lose signal and/or work less efficiently due to a large amount of ice covering them. This experiment can shed light on what non-volatile solute works most efficiently to reduce the amount of ice formed on satellites.

This was a test of freezing point depression, and how it was affected by non-volatile solutes. This experiment was conducted by having a test tube with water and one of four chosen non-volatile solutes lowered into an ice bath. The four non-volatile solutes were sodium chloride, sucrose, sodium acetate, and silicon dioxide. The initial temperature and final temperature (after the test tube was submerged) was recorded and the change in temperature was calculated. An ANOVA test was used to test the significance of the results.

Following the change in temperature test, an additional test was carried out to see if these non-volatile solutes would lower the freezing point of water when applied to a satellite dish, as well. For this experiment, water was frozen on a piece of a satellite dish, and then one of each of the solutes was sprinkled over the ice. The amount of time taken for the ice to completely melt was recorded and compared.

After the experiment had been completed, it was discovered that non-volatile solutes have a significant effect on the freezing point of a liquid. The sodium chloride solution yielded the smallest change in temperature of the four solutes. This means that sodium chloride most effectively lowered the freezing point of water because that solution kept an overall higher temperature for a long period of time.

Research Done By:

Kyle McKee
South Lake High School

Amber Watripont
Cousino High School