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The Phase Rule and Its Applications by Findlay

The hydrate will melt at a lower temperature


far as the first portion of the curve is concerned, it resembles the most general type of solubility curve. In the present case the solubility is so great and increases so rapidly with rise of temperature, that a point is reached at which the water of crystallization of the salt is sufficient for its complete solution. This temperature is 30.2deg; and since the composition of the solution is the same as that of the solid salt, viz. 1 mol. of CaCl_{2} to 6 mols. of water, this temperature must be the melting point of the hexahydrate. At this point the hydrate will fuse or the solution will solidify without change of temperature and without change of composition. Such a melting point is called a _congruent_ melting point.

But the solubility curve of calcium chloride hexahydrate differs markedly from the other solubility curves hitherto considered in that it possesses a _retroflex portion_, represented in the figure by BC. As is evident from the figure, therefore, calcium chloride hexahydrate exhibits the peculiar and, as it was at first thought, impossible behaviour that it can be in equilibrium at one and the same temperature with two different solutions, one of which contains more, the other less, water than the solid hydrate; for it must be remembered that {147} throughout the whole course of the curve ABC the solid phase present in equilibrium with the solution is the hexahydrate.

Such a behaviour, however,

on the part of calcium chloride hexahydrate will appear less strange if one reflects that the melting point of the hydrate will, like the melting point of other substances, be lowered by the addition of a second substance. If, therefore, water is added to the hydrate at its melting point, the temperature at which the solid hydrate will be in equilibrium with the liquid phase (solution) will be lowered; or if, on the other hand, anhydrous calcium chloride is added to the hydrate at its melting point (or what is the same thing, if water is removed from the solution), the temperature at which the hydrate will be in equilibrium with the liquid will also be lowered; _i.e._ the hydrate will melt at a lower temperature. In the former case we have the hydrate in equilibrium with a solution containing more water, in the latter case with a solution containing less water than is contained in the hydrate itself.

It has already been stated (p. 109) that the solubility curve (in general, the equilibrium curve) is continuous so long as the solid phase remains unchanged; and we shall therefore expect that the curve ABC will be continuous. Formerly, however, it was considered by some that the curve was not continuous, but that the melting point is the point of intersection of two curves, a solubility curve and a fusion curve. Although the earlier solubility determinations were insufficient to decide this point conclusively, more recent investigation has proved beyond doubt that the curve is continuous and exhibits no break.[226]


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