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Freezing Point Depression vs. Boiling Point Elevation: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 22, 2023
Freezing point depression occurs when a solute is added to a solvent, lowering its freezing point, whereas boiling point elevation is the increase in a solvent's boiling point upon solute addition.

Key Differences

Freezing point depression refers to the decrease in a liquid's freezing point when a solute is dissolved in it. On the other hand, boiling point elevation refers to the increase in a liquid’s boiling point when a solute is added.
Both phenomena are colligative properties, meaning they depend on the number of solute particles in the solvent, not the type of particles. The more solute particles present, the more pronounced the effect in both cases.
Freezing point depression is often used in making antifreeze solutions. While, boiling point elevation is observed in cooking, such as when salt is added to water.
Freezing point depression explains why salt is used to melt ice on roads. Whereas, boiling point elevation is utilized in automotive cooling systems to prevent the coolant from boiling.

Comparison Chart


Lowering of a solvent's freezing point
Raising of a solvent's boiling point


Addition of a solute
Addition of a solute

Colligative Property

Depends on the number of solute particles
Depends on the number of solute particles

Common Example

Salt added to ice
Salt added to boiling water

Molecular Mechanism

Disruption in solid structure formation
Increase in solvent vapor pressure

Freezing Point Depression and Boiling Point Elevation Definitions

Freezing Point Depression

The lowering of the freezing point of a liquid by adding a solute.
Adding salt to water lowers its freezing point, useful in deicing roads.

Boiling Point Elevation

Affects the phase transition from liquid to gas.
In high-altitude cooking, boiling point elevation is considered for precise cooking.

Freezing Point Depression

A colligative property that depends on solute particle concentration.
The more salt dissolved in water, the greater the freezing point depression.

Boiling Point Elevation

The increase in boiling point of a liquid by adding a non-volatile solute.
Adding salt to water increases its boiling point, a common cooking practice.

Freezing Point Depression

Influences the phase transition from liquid to solid.
Saltwater freezes at a lower temperature due to freezing point depression.

Boiling Point Elevation

A colligative property based on the number of solute particles.
The more sugar added to water, the higher the boiling point elevation.

Freezing Point Depression

A phenomenon used in antifreeze solutions.
Freezing point depression explains why antifreeze keeps engines from freezing.

Boiling Point Elevation

Utilized in cooking to alter boiling temperatures.
Boiling point elevation is why pasta cooks differently in salted water.

Freezing Point Depression

A practical application in preserving food.
Freezing point depression is why salt is added to ice in making homemade ice cream.

Boiling Point Elevation

Important in industrial processes and automotive cooling systems.
Boiling point elevation is used in cooling systems to prevent coolant from boiling.


What causes boiling point elevation?

Adding a solute to a solvent raises its boiling point.

Why is salt used on icy roads?

Salt causes freezing point depression, melting the ice.

What causes freezing point depression?

Dissolving a solute in a solvent lowers its freezing point.

Are these properties dependent on solute type?

They depend on the number of particles, not their type.

Is freezing point depression used in food preservation?

Yes, especially in freezing techniques.

Why is boiling point elevation important in cooking?

It affects cooking times and temperatures.

Does boiling point elevation occur with all solutes?

It occurs with non-volatile solutes.

Why does salted water boil at a higher temperature?

Salt increases the water's boiling point.

Is boiling point elevation used in industries?

Yes, in chemical and processing industries.

How does antifreeze work?

Antifreeze lowers the freezing point of water in engines.

Can sugar cause boiling point elevation?

Yes, as it’s a non-volatile solute.

Can freezing point depression be reversed?

Removing the solute can reverse the effect.

What is a real-world example of freezing point depression?

Making homemade ice cream with salt and ice.

How does altitude affect boiling point elevation?

Higher altitudes require adjustments due to lower atmospheric pressure.

Does adding more solute increase these effects?

Yes, more solute particles intensify both effects.

Can boiling point elevation be used to purify water?

It can be a factor in distillation processes.

Are these principles applied in environmental control?

Yes, in managing ice and snow on roads and walkways.

Is the effect of freezing point depression significant in household freezers?

It's more noticeable in industrial or commercial freezing processes.

Do these effects vary with pressure?

Yes, atmospheric pressure influences both phenomena.

Is freezing point depression noticeable in daily life?

Yes, in practices like road deicing and making ice cream.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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