Solidus (chemistry)

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In chemistry, materials science, and physics, the solidus is the locus of temperatures (a curve on a phase diagram) below which a given substance is completely solid (crystallized). The solidus is applied, among else, to metal alloys, ceramics, and natural rocks and minerals.

The solidus quantifies the temperature at which melting of a substance begins, but the substance is not necessarily melted completely, i.e., the solidus is not necessarily a melting point. For this distinction, the solidus may be contrasted to the liquidus. The solidus and liquidus do not align or overlap in all cases. If a gap exists between the solidus and liquidus it is called the freezing range, and within that gap, the substance consists of a mixture of solid and liquid phases (like a slurry). Such is the case, for example, with the olivine (forsterite-fayalite) system.

In eutectic mixtures the solidus and liquidus temperatures are identical, i.e., the mixture melts completely at one temperature, the eutectic point.

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