water + enough heat = steam

take water. add heat. the colder the water the more heat needed to get it to boiling point

heat is energy and it may be measured in Joules (J) or KJ

how many KJ  needed to boil 1 litre (or 1 Kg, if the water is pure) of water from a temperature of, say, 25 deg C? a reasonable assumption, as exposed water in most parts of the populated world, including easily accessible sea water, i e the ‘grist’ to our ‘mill’  is likely at or above this temperature

it takes 4.2 KJ of energy to raise the temperature of 1 litre of water by 1 deg C

to raise the litre’s temperature from 25 to 100 deg C, a 75 deg change, takes 315 KJ

now the liter of water is boiling, but no steam yet. the water needs to absorb more energy, a lot more energy than what was needed to get it to boiling point from 25 deg C, to change its phase (or face?) from liquid to steam

it takes an additional 2260 (61 to be more precise) KJ of energy to convert all of 1 litre of water at boiling point into steam

315 KJ to get the water from 25 deg C (it would be 420 KJ if the water were juuust above freezing temperature of 0 deg C – only an additional 105 KJ), but 2260 KJ from there on to convert it to steam

converting boiling water into steam takes more than 5 times the energy devoured in metamorphosing from glassy ruthless ice to breathlessly effervescent furiously energetic boiling water, an extreme change in character

a *lot* of energy is required for H2O to perform the magical act of transcending its gross earth bound liquid form and transforming into ethereal vapour

to digress for a moment, this being a blog, a refreshingly tolerant medium that literally invites meanders, as opposed to most other prevalent media, if these same changes (not an oxymoron;) were to occur in a human, the changes in going from ice to boiling water, it would be like taking the most stolid poker faced person and turning him into a hysterical, red faced screaming maniac! Clint Eastwood morphs into Robin Williams at his manic best;)


About Vishwa Narayan

who can live without water? drinking water for all is my goal, through Theertham, a not-for-profit organization i founded and registered in Texas. you can reach me at drvishwanarayan@yahoo.com
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