An antifreeze is an additive which lowers the freezing point of a water-based liquid. An antifreeze mixture is used to achieve freezing-point depression for cold environments. Common antifreezes increase the boiling point of the liquid, allowing higher coolant temperature.
Because water has good properties as a coolant, water plus antifreeze is used in internal combustion engines and other heat transfer applications, such as HVAC chillers and solar water heaters. The purpose of antifreeze is to prevent a rigid enclosure from bursting due to expansion when water freezes. Commercially, both the additive (pure concentrate) and the mixture (diluted solution) are called antifreeze, depending on the context. Careful selection of an antifreeze can enable a wide temperature range in which the mixture remains in the liquid phase, which is critical to efficient heat transfer and the proper functioning of heat exchangers.