When heat is applied to any solid substance it will eventually melt into its liquid state. The temperature at which this occurs is known as the melting point of that substance. The melting point of materials is a key characteristic that helps to identify them and determine their purity.
There are several laboratory techniques used for the determination of melting points. One of the most popular is the Kofler bench which uses a metal strip with a temperature gradient that allows any sample to be placed on it and reveal its thermal behaviour at the temperature that it reaches its melting point. Alternatively, melting points can be determined using differential scanning calorimetry which provides information on the melting point as well as its enthalpy of fusion.
In practice, however, most samples only appear to melt over a small temperature range. This means that the actual melting point of most samples is often recorded as a melting range rather than an exact melting point. This is because it is difficult to accurately measure the precise point at which a solid starts to melt.
Melting point analysis plays a vital role in many fields including pharmaceuticals, materials science, and even forensics. It is a technique that allows scientists and researchers to identify pure substances and ensure the integrity of their samples. At Westlab Canada, we are dedicated to providing high-quality laboratory equipment and support to customers, including melting point apparatus, to help them with the accurate and efficient completion of melting point tests in their laboratories.