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### Steam Burns vs. Water Burns

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:20 pm
I'm still confused about why steam burns are worse than water burns. Can someone explain this to me again? I am very interested in this application of thermochemistry.

### Re: Steam Burns vs. Water Burns

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:30 pm
Steam has more energy than water does. Boiling water is about 5KJ of heat while steam is about 40.7 KJ. So when the steam hits your skin you are immediately feeling 40.5 KJ of heat rather than 5KJ. Steam also absorbs heat so it will also increase in temperature.

### Re: Steam Burns vs. Water Burns

Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:24 am
It requires energy to turn water from a room temperature to 100 degrees (the boiling point), and it also requires energy to turn boiling water to steam. To convert one gram of water to steam requires 540 calories. Thus steam stores more energy than water, thus causes more damage.

### Re: Steam Burns vs. Water Burns

Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:27 pm
Here is something to think about:

To reach a boiling state of water, you need to heat it up to a certain temperature. Water that is heated up will first reach boiling state. Then as you continue to heat the water up, it will eventually reach to vapor and steam. So since water requires a higher temperature to reach the vapor state, steam burns are worse than boiling water burns.

### Re: Steam Burns vs. Water Burns

Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:12 pm
This still confuses me as well because I understand that steam has more energy because it underwent a phase change but how can we have steam and water in different phases but at the same temperature?? Also, is energy not also a measure of heat? How can steam have more energy but still be the same temperature?

### Re: Steam Burns vs. Water Burns

Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:22 pm
think of it this way:
when steam hits your hand, the gas is going through a phase change from gas to water (on your hand). This phase change releases energy.
but when the boiling water hits your hand, there's no phase change.
thus steam burn is much worse than water burn.
hope that helps!

### Re: Steam Burns vs. Water Burns

Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:43 pm
Steam has more energy than boiling water because it takes more energy to break the bonds holding the molecules together. Because of this, the temperature stays at 100 degrees Celsius, even as more heat is added.