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Sodium Acetate Molecule

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Sodium acetate is also used in heating pads, hand warmers, and hot ice. Sodium acetate trihydrate crystals melt at 136. 4 °F/58 °C (to 137. 12 °F/58. 4 °C), dissolving in their water of crystallization. When they are heated past the melting point and subsequently allowed to cool, the aqueous solution becomes supersaturated. This solution is capable of cooling to room temperature without forming crystals. By pressing on a metal disc within the heating pad, a nucleation center is formed, causing the solution to crystallize back into solid sodium acetate trihydrate. The bond-forming process of crystallization is exothermic. The latent heat of fusion is about 264–289 kJ/kg. Unlike some types of heat packs, such as those dependent upon irreversible chemical reactions, a sodium acetate heat pack can be easily reused by immersing the pack in boiling water for a few minutes, until the crystals are completely dissolved, and allowing the pack to slowly cool to room temperature.

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