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Phase Diagrams from Thermal Analysis > Single-Component Systems (1)

Description of Flash Animation

This animation shows a cooling curve and undercooling.

This resource requires Flash Player 9 or above available to download from

If a single component system - such as a pure metal - is allowed to cool from the liquid state at constant pressure, and the temperature recorded as a function of time, we obtain a cooling curve.

This experimental technique is known as thermal analysis.



  1. There is an 'arrest' at Tm, the melting temperature. Which phase(s) is/are in equilibrium at each of the three stages of cooling? You may hover the cursor over the graph lines to find out.
  2. Why does the temperature remain constant during the solidification process?
  3. In reality, it is usually necessary to cool below the melting temperature in order for solidification to start (click opposite to see an example). Why is this?

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