A two step melting process in Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) monolayer assemblies of cadmium arachidate (CdA) has been studied by infrared spectroscopy in conjunction with thermal measurements. These techniques have allowed, for the first time, the investigation of detailed structural changes which occur during heating, melting, and annealing cycles. Prior to the melting point, a pretransitional disordering of the hydrocarbon tails was observed. This was followed by a catastrophic breakup of the cadmium lattice at a temperature corresponding to the melting point as measured by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). © 1985 American Institute of Physics.