We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Which Material Has the Lowest Freezing Point?

Michael Anissimov
Updated Feb 07, 2024
Our promise to you
AllTheScience is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At AllTheScience, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The material with the lowest freezing point is helium. Under typical pressures, it does not freeze at all, even at temperatures approaching absolute zero. The reasons why are dictated by quantum mechanics: the zero point energy of a helium system is too great to allow freezing. The zero point energy is the minimum energy a particle or system always has, no matter what. Helium is the only substance that does not have a freezing point under ambient pressure, no matter the temperature.

A freezing point for helium only exists under at least 25 atmospheres of pressure and a temperature of 1.15 K. These conditions have been created in a laboratory through evaporative cooling. The result is a colorless, highly compressible solid that is practically invisible. Solid helium is so difficult to see that layers of styrofoam are used just to tell where it is. The density of solid helium itself is only 66 times greater than air. By comparison, water is 1000 times more dense than air.

Helium was first liquefied in 1908 by Dutch physicist Heike Onnes, who cooled it to 1 degree Kelvin. Much to his surprise, further cooling did not cause it to reach its freezing point. It wasn’t until 18 years later, in 1926, that his student, Williem Keesom, was able to solidify helium by cooling it in a pressure chamber. Today, the liquefaction of helium is a vital step in extracting it from the earth and storing it.

Liquid helium is often used as a cryogenic cooling agent when liquid nitrogen isn’t enough. It must be kept under continuous high pressure and low temperature, otherwise it quickly expands and transitions to a gas. Solid helium does not have any practical applications outside of scientific research.

Some of helium’s most unusual properties can be coaxed out at temperatures close to absolute zero. At such temperatures, helium behaves as a superfluid, meaning it flows with zero measurable viscosity. It also has a tendency to creep up the walls of a container it is held in.

AllTheScience is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov

Michael is a longtime AllTheScience contributor who specializes in topics relating to paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism. In addition to being an avid blogger, Michael is particularly passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. He has also worked for the Methuselah Foundation, the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and the Lifeboat Foundation.

Discussion Comments

By Melonlity — On Feb 18, 2014

And, oddly, an extremely cold substance can effective cause a skin burn. Counter intuitive? Perhaps, but that's how it goes.

By RoyalSpyder — On Feb 12, 2014

@Viranty - Based on my experience(s), I can answer that for you. I was once in a science lab, and I had to handle dry ice. Not aware of how cold it was, I picked it up (without wearing any gloves). My hands became severely frostbitten, and my skin was nearly damaged. Thankfully, it was taken care of pretty quickly (since my science teacher was nearby), but I learned my lesson from that day forward. Melonlity is right. Whether it's hot or cold, handling substances can be very dangerous, as they're not supposed to contact human skin. No matter the case, it's always good to be cautious.

By Viranty — On Feb 12, 2014

@Melonity - I haven't had much experience handling cold substances, but what makes them so dangerous, and what happens if they come in contact with human skin?

By RoyalSpyder — On Feb 11, 2014

@Melonlity - You took the words right out of my mouth. Though the article mainly discusses lowest freezing points, it's also important to note that cold substances can be extremely dangerous, sometimes even more so than hot substances. When handling these, not only is it a good idea to wear gloves, but it's an even better idea to pick up the material with tweezers or pliers. Most of us think we can handle the materials ourselves, but we all make mistakes, don't we? In the scientific realm, there's little room for error.

By Melonlity — On Feb 07, 2014

Good to know, and it's important to point out that handling liquid nitrogen or helium can be very dangerous. Horrible things happen when those substances come in contact with human skin.

Michael Anissimov

Michael Anissimov

Michael is a longtime AllTheScience contributor who specializes in topics relating to paleontology, physics, biology...

Read more
AllTheScience, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

AllTheScience, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.