Meaning of Sublimation, Process, and Examples in Everyday Life

Reader, do you know what sublimation is ? In our daily life there are many things with various forms and shapes. Starting from liquid, solid or gas. The form of this thing can change into another form. For example, a solid can turn into a liquid or vice versa.

As we know, there are many kinds of events that change the existence of things. There is freezing, melting, evaporating, condensing, sublimating. Well, this article will discuss more about sublimation.

What is sublimation? and what are examples of events that happen everyday? Before we discuss about sublimation, we need to know the explanation about solid, liquid and gas.

Solids, Liquids and Gases

Solids are things that have a fixed nature, shape and volume. Examples of solid objects are lilies, tables, mattresses, chairs, stones and others.

A liquid is a thing whose properties and shape change according to its container, the volume is constant and flows from a higher place to a lower place. Examples of liquids are water and oil

Gases are things whose nature, shape and volume are always changing. Gases also occupy space. Examples of gaseous substances are air, gas, and wind.

Meaning of Sublimation

Sublimation is a form of change in the form of a solid substance into a gaseous substance without going through the liquid process. In the process of sublimation requires heat energy or heat. According to Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia (KBBI) , sublimate comes from the word sublime which has the meaning of changing a solid substance into vapor.

Sublimation is one form of physical change, because in the process of sublimation it is not accompanied by the formation of new substances. In addition, this sublimation process can be seen or observed with the direct eye or the naked eye from just its physical appearance or external appearance.

Sublimation Process

As explained earlier about the meaning of sublimation, sublimation is a change in the form or existence of a substance from a solid to a gas. The process of sublimation is to make molecules that are close to each other become distant and irregular.

The process of sublimation is the result of the vapor pressure and temperature relationship. Just take an example of camphor, camphor or solid room fragrance. The camphor changes its form from a solid to a gaseous form whose molecules are distant from each other and irregular. Therefore, those things can emit a fragrance that makes the room fragrant.

Solids are things that have close molecular distances with strong attraction. Meanwhile, gases have a shape like air where the molecular distance is far apart and irregular, the attraction of gases tends to be weak. Gas can be said to be a fairly light substance and its properties are almost the same as air.

Examples of the Sublimation Process in Everyday Life

There are many examples of sublimating events in our daily lives. Among them are camphor, dry ice to ice cubes that are kept at room temperature. Solid things that can sublimate include arsenic, water, iodine and solid carbon dioxide (dry ice). To know an example of the sublimation process, the following is a complete explanation.

1. Kapur Barus or Camphor

Lime that is placed around the house is usually useful to get rid of odors or even insects. Lime or camphor that if left in the wardrobe that we use will surely shrink and wear out over time.

This is because camphor or camphor receives heat from the cabinet environment. In addition, because camphor is made from a chemical substance called naphthalene. Naphthalene is a substance that sublimates easily because it is bound by a relatively weak van der waals force.

2. Dry Ice or Dry Ice

Dry ice or dry ice if left in the open air will undergo a process of sublimation. The carbon dioxide or CO2 content in dry ice does not melt when heated, but instead directly changes into a gas. Dry ice sublimes at a temperature of -78 degrees Celsius under normal atmospheric pressure of 1 atm.

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3. Iodine

Solid iodine when heated will sublimate and become gaseous iodine. Iodine gas can turn back into solid iodine after going through the cooling process.

4. Melting Snow

Snow is formed from complex crystals with large surface areas. The larger the surface area of ​​the snow exposed to air, the more molecules can sublimate.

5. Ice Cubes Fresh Out of the Fridge

Ice cubes are synonymous with the change of existence from a solid to a liquid or called melting. However, not only that, when ice cubes that have just been taken out of the fridge and placed in room temperature will emit a lot of smoke. This can happen because the ice not only melts but experiences a sublimation event.

6. Sublimation Printer

Nowadays, inkjet printers have been replaced by sublimation printers. Printing on the print uses heat to unite the ink and fabric into one. The advantage of the print from this printer is that it can be used immediately because the print can dry quickly.

In addition, the use of printers with sublimation techniques is also used in the process of printing synthetic fabrics such as polyester, making T-shirts, flags and banners. By using this printing machine, the advantage is that the color is more brilliant because the coloring material is bound with synthetic fibers.

An example of sublimation is when the process is done through this printer that uses a special film, when heated, the pigments in the film will sublimate and be captured again on paper.

Once the pigment solidifies, it will create an image on paper. Because of the sublimation process, this printer is much more comfortable and less messy to use when compared to other types of printers.

7. Freeze-drying

Sublimation techniques are also often used in the culinary world or the food industry, namely freeze drying. This technique can maintain the quality of food because it uses a very low temperature.

The drying of frozen food involves the sublimation of water from the food in a frozen state when a high-pressure vacuum is applied. In addition, this technique is also often used to preserve food brought by astronauts into outer space in order to maintain the quality of the food.

8. Room freshener

Room fresheners not only have a liquid form that is sprayed but there are also room fresheners that have a solid form. Air freshener is a solid that is placed at room temperature, which over time will undergo a sublimation process or turn into a gas alias into a fragrant aroma while its size will shrink or shrink.

9. Arsenic Solids

Arsenic solids if heated can go through the process of sublimation. this heating process will directly change from the solid phase to the gas phase, without melting or experiencing the melting phase.

Arsenic solids can sublimate at a temperature of 616 degrees Celsius. Arsenic does not melt and directly sublimates because it has a melting point that is at 817 degrees Celsius. Which means arsenic can sublimate first without having time to melt.

10. Glass On Scouring Tools

For women, it’s definitely quite often to use this one hairdressing tool, the catok tool has a material made of glass which is a heat transfer material which will erode over time due to heat from electricity and become hot gas.

11. Coal

Coal is a black solid used for combustion. Burning coal will become carbon dioxide gas or smoke.

12. Fireworks

Fireworks are very identical and many are bought at the turn of the year. Fireworks have materials in the form of solids inside which when burned will produce beautiful shapes and colors. Fireworks that are lit will then explode and become carbon dioxide gas.

13. Wick on the Candle

The wick on a candle that burns over time will get shorter and turn into gas as the length of the candle burns.

The Process of Changing the Form of Other Things

Not only sublimation, there is a change in the form of other things that you must know, Reader. The following is the process of changing the form of things other than sublimation:

1. Crystallize

Crystallization is a change in the form of matter from a gas to a solid. The process that causes crystallization is the release of heat energy from an object.

For example, the process of crystallization turns water vapor in the air into snow. There is also the change of air in the refrigerator into ice flowers.

2. Freezing

Freezing is the process of changing from a liquid to a solid. The process that is done to allow the freezing process to occur is to change the form of a liquid object by cooling it to the freezing point and then it will change into a solid object.

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An example of a change in the form of an object by means of freezing is when water is put in the freezer and it will become ice cubes or freeze.

3. Melting

Melting is the process of changing from a solid to a liquid. The action or action done to change things into liquid is to heat or raise the temperature of the solid thing.

For example, when the ice in the freezer is placed in an open area or under the hot sun for a long time, then the ice cubes will turn into liquid. Ice that was initially a solid thing then turned into a liquid thing.

4. Yawning

Evaporation is the process of changing the state of matter from liquid to gas. The process that causes evaporation is by heating or raising the temperature of the liquid.

For example, water that is heated over time will boil and then evaporate into smoke or gas. That already indicates that there is a change in existence from a liquid to a solid. Another example can also be seen when evaporation in the sea or river during the day will produce clouds.

5. Condensing

Condensation is the process of changing from a gas to a liquid. This is due to the display of heat energy experienced by the object.

An example is when you put ice cubes and water on a glass, then the outside of the glass will become wet. In addition, the grass that is in the field in the morning, becomes wet even though there is no rain in the afternoon.

Causes of Changes in the Form of Things

The change that occurs in an object is certainly not without reason, that is why in the change of substance it can be recognized directly as well as using aids. Changes in the form of things can occur due to physical, chemical, and biological changes in the properties of the substances of those things.

The following is an explanation of the causes of physical changes in solid, liquid, and gas:

1. Physical Changes

Physical change is a form of change in substance in an object that can be seen or observed directly with the eyes or with its physical appearance only and its external appearance. Physical changes do not change the chemical composition of a substance.

This change does not change the material or form a new substance in an object. The special nature of this change is that the change can be observed from the outside or physically and can return to its original state as before the substance changed.

An example of a chemical change is when iron is heated, then its size will get longer, this is called expansion. Then another example is ice that melts, the change in its form can return to its original state, which is to become a solid object by cooling it.

2. Chemical Changes

Chemical change is a form of change in the form of an object that occurs in the shape and size of a substance and produces a new, different substance. This change in form will produce different or new material types and properties from the original substance.

A chemical reaction will create a substance or composition that changes into a new chemical formula. This change in chemical form is caused by the material reduction of the substance when it changes. Chemical changes can occur from the factors of combustion, cooling, heating, and decomposition.

An example of this chemical change is wood that is burned then it will produce charcoal and gas or smoke. This change to charcoal and gas cannot be changed back to its original form, which is wood, because the change is chemical.

3. Biological Changes

Biological changes are changes that occur due to the influence of the activity of other living beings or decomposing microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria and other trace elements. Similar to chemical changes, biological changes also cause changes in things that cannot return to their original form before they change.

Examples of biological changes that you can find in everyday life are like wood becoming weathered and disintegrating over time, fruits that start to rot. The time required in this weathering process is very long.

The World According to Physics


As explained above, the change in the form of things is not only sublimation, but there are several others, such as evaporation, freezing, melting, crystallizing, and condensing. Every change in existence will definitely be around us. For example, water that freezes, until it becomes ice cubes.