Ice and water kept in a perfectly insulated thermos flask (no exchange of heat between its contents and the surroundings) at 273K.
and the atmospheric pressure are in equilibrium state and the system shows interesting characteristic features. We observe that the mass of ice and water do not change with time and the temperature remains constant. However, the equilibrium is not static. The intense activity can be noticed at the boundary between ice and water.
Molecules from the liquid water collide against ice and adhere to it and some molecules of ice escape into liquid phase. There is no change of mass of ice and water, as the rates of transfer of molecules from ice into water and of reverse transfer from water into ice are equal at atmospheric pressure and 273 K.
It is obvious that ice and water are in equilibrium only at particular temperature and pressure. For any pure substance at atmospheric pressure, the temperature at which the solid and liquid phases are at equilibrium is called the normal melting point or normal freezing point of the substance. The system here is in dynamic equilibrium and we can infer the following:
- Both the opposing processes occur simultaneously.
- Both the processes occur at the same rate so that the amount of ice and water remains constant