Sublimation Definition Example Essays

Sublimation is process of conversion of solid directly into gas.

In general scenario, Ice coverts to water and this water converts to water vapor (gas).

So the process of conversion of states of matter is solid converts to liquid and this liquid boils out to give gas.

Solid →liquid→Gas  (normal transition of matter).

Solid→ Gas (Sublimation phenomenon)

So the process is devoid of liquid state during transition.

What is sublimation process ?

In general matter has particles bound together by inter molecular and intra-molecular forces. These forces help keep the matter bulky, hard and stable. When we provide heat energy to this matter, the forces of attraction are overcome due to vibrations of atoms in the molecules leading loss if stability and hardness. The molecules

tend to arrange themselves in loose fashion such that they start flowing like a liquid without any shape.

On providing further energy, these molecules begin to vibrate with greater intensity than before and tend to move apart from each other. They exist as gas which have loosely bound molecules. These molecules are free to move and try to occupy the open space as much as possible.

But volatile substances tend to directly convert from solid to gas at room temperature. This phenomenon of conversion directly from solids to gases is called as sublimation.

Examples of sublimation include:
1. Naphthalene: When used as insecticide and put between clothes, we can notice that it loses weight gradually. This loss of weight is due to sublimation. Naphthalene ball converts slowly to gas on standing. This gas is toxic to insects and hence they stay away from clothes.

2. Water: Even water shows this behavior at triple point.

3. Iodine: Iodine is a good example for sublimation.

Uses of sublimation:

Drying: Sublimation helps to dry substance within getting moist. This process of sublimation is also beneficial in medicine. It is used in making powders from heat sensitive materials etc.

Purification: If is a substance is in contaminated form, it can be separated into pure form by sublimation technique. since the sublimation temperature of substance is different than the contaminant, when sublimation is done, the substance is separated leaving the contaminant behind.

Aroma: Sublimation is the principle involved in air freshener solids used in room and toilets. The room fresheners are solids packed in a box. They spread the odor to the entire room by getting evaporated.



Explanations > Behaviours > Coping > Sublimation

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?



Sublimation is the transformation of unwanted impulses into something less harmful. This can simply be a distracting release or may be a constructive and valuable piece of work.

When we are faced with the dissonance of uncomfortable thoughts, we create psychic energy. This has to go somewhere. Sublimation channels this energy away from destructive acts and into something that is socially acceptable and/or creatively effective.

Many sports and games are sublimations of aggressive urges, as we sublimate the desire to fight into the ritualistic activities of formal competition.


I am angry. I go out and chop wood. I end up with a useful pile of firewood. I am also fitter and nobody is harmed.

A person who has an obsessive need for control and order becomes a successful business entrepreneur.

A person with strong sexual urges becomes an artist.

A man who has extra-marital desires takes up household repairs when his wife is out of town.

A surgeon turns aggressive energies and deep desires to cut people into life-saving acts.


Sublimation is probably the most useful and constructive of the defense mechanisms as it takes the energy of something that is potentially harmful and turns it to doing something good and useful.

Freud believed that the greatest achievements in civilization were due to the effective sublimation of our sexual and aggressive urges that are sourced in the Id and then channeled by the Ego as directed by the Super ego. In his more basic musings, he considered such as painting as a potentially sublimated desire to smear one's own faeces.

Sublimation is one of Anna Freud's original defense mechanisms.

So what?

Help others who are causing themselves and others problems, for example by their sexual advances or aggressive outbursts, to re-channel their energies into more constructive activities.

Beware of 'on the boundary' activities (including your own) where sublimated energy may switch back into unwanted or anti-social activities or other, less constructive, coping mechanisms.

See also

Repression, Fantasy

Leave a Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *