Steam and Boiling water

Moderators: Chem_Mod, Chem_Admin

Arman M 1A
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:23 am
Been upvoted: 1 time

Steam and Boiling water

Postby Arman M 1A » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:04 pm

Why is getting burned from steam more damaging than getting burned with boiling water of the same temperature?

Posts: 17949
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:53 pm
Has upvoted: 406 times

Re: Steam and Boiling water

Postby Chem_Mod » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:14 pm

When water goes from gas to liquid it is undergoing what is called a phase change. Phase changes require a lot more energy than just a temperature change. The energy required for water to go from a liquid to a gas is called the heat of vaporization. When steam (water in the gas phase) hits your skin, a lot of energy will be released as it condenses into a liquid, undergoing a phase change. This energy release causes a much worse burn than if the same amount of boiling water were to hit your skin where it would decrease in temperature (to your skins temperature) but would not have to go through a phase change. The loss of energy that is released from steam hitting your skin occurs quickly and in a small localized area, therefore causing damage to your cells.

Danny Elias Dis 1E
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:19 am

Re: Steam and Boiling water

Postby Danny Elias Dis 1E » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:42 am

Simply put, steam transfers more energy to your skin than boiling water because of the excess energy the steam needs to release to turn back into a liquid.

Return to “Phase Changes & Related Calculations”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests