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Do all substances boil?

  1. Dec 22, 2012 #1
    If no, which ones do not? If yes, is there a theoretical proof that a counterexample is impossible?

    Most substances have a fluid phase which is a single phase at pressures above critical point pressure - but two separate phases at lower pressures. The solid sublimates into a gas at lower pressure, and at higher pressures it melts into a liquid.

    Some substances have wide pressure range of boiling. For example quicksilver has a triple point pressure of just 0,165 mPa, at about -39 degrees, yet its critical point pressure is reputed 172 MPa, at +1477 degrees.

    Yet other substances have relatively narrow boiling pressure range. Carbon dioxide has triple point pressure of 0,52 MPa, at -57 degrees, but its critical point pressure is 7,3 MPa, at +31 degrees.

    Is it fundamentally possible for a substance to not boil at all, under any pressure or temperature, because the solid crystallizes from a single fluid phase under any pressures, such that triple and critical point are nonexistent because "degenerate"?

    If yes, what substances are such? If no, what is the theoretical proof if the impossibility of such a substance?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 22, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Some solid substances will break apart, sublimate at every pressure or transform into other substances if you heat them - and without a liquid phase, they cannot boil.
    A triple point at the critical point... I don't know.

    Comparing this list with that one, all listed substances seem to have a triple point below their critical point.
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