The key difference between sublime and sublimate is that the sublime refers to the verb describing the sublimation process whereas the sublimate refers to a noun that describes the end product of sublimation.
Sublimation is the process of the transition from a solid phase into a gas phase directly, without going through a liquid phase. This is an endothermic phase transition reaction in chemistry. When considering the sublimation process, it takes place at temperatures and pressures below the triple point of a substance. The triple point of a substance is the temperature and pressure at which that substance can coexist in all three phases of matter (solid, liquid and gas phase) in thermodynamic equilibrium. Desublimation, on the other hand, refers to the conversion of gaseous phase back to the solid phase directly; without going through a liquid phase. The two terms sublime and sublimate describe two different points of the sublimation process as stated above, in the key difference.
What is Sublime?
The term sublime is a verb that we use to name the process of sublimation. When we say we are going to sublime a substance, that means we are going to convert the phase of that substance from its solid phase to the gas phase without passing through its liquid phase.
For example, dry ice undergoes sublimation at room temperature and pressure to form carbon dioxide vapour. There we say, “dry ice sublimes to produce carbon dioxide vapour”.
What is Sublimate?
The term sublimate refers to the chemical product that we obtain from the process of sublimation. This means, sublimate is the name we give to the end product of the sublimation process.
Usually, the sublimate is a gaseous compound because always the sublimation forms a gaseous product out of the solid product. For example, the sublimate of the sublimation of the dry ice is carbon dioxide vapour.
What is the Difference Between Sublime and Sublimate?
The term sublime is a verb that we use to name the process of sublimation whereas the term sublimate refers to the chemical product that we obtain from the process of sublimation. When considering the use of these two terms, the sublime is a verb while sublimate is a noun. This is because the term sublime refers to the sublimation process whereas the term sublimate refers to the gaseous products that form at the end of the sublimation process.
The below infographic presents the difference between sublime and sublimate in tabular form for quick reference.
Summary – Sublime vs Sublimate
Difference between the two terms sublime and sublimation lies upon the use of these terms. Therefore, we can give the difference between sublime and sublimate as that the term sublime refers to the verb describing the sublimation process whereas the term sublimate refers to a noun that describes the end product of sublimation.
1. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. “Sublimation Definition (Phase Transition in Chemistry).” ThoughtCo, Jun. 22, 2018. Available here
1.”Nickelocen an einem Kühlfinger”By MSchiffrer – Own work, (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2.”Dry Ice Vapor (17490553041)”By Tony Webster from Mountain View, California – Dry Ice Vapor, (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia