What is Condensation and Examples

condensation is a status change of matter, in which a substance passes from state gaseous to state liquidaltering its physical properties.

When the temperature of a gas is below boiling point, their particles tend to stick together. In this way, the substance changes from a gas to a liquid.

Liquid is a state in which matter has constant volume and fluidity. The attractive force that unites its particles is greater than in the gaseous state.

Distillation, for example, is a process that takes advantage of the different boiling points of two substances, alcohol at 76 °C and water at 100 °C.

As the temperature of an alcohol-water mixture rises, the ethanol (alcohol) evaporates faster and condenses in special containers called condensers.

The opposite process to condensation is evaporation, which consists of the change from liquid to gaseous state of a substance.

Condensation in the water cycle

Condensation in the water cycle

Condensation in the water cycle.

Condensation can be observed as part of the water cycle, during the stage that takes place between evaporation and precipitation.

In the condensation phase, water vapor cools and condenses, forming tiny droplets and ice crystals. The accumulation of these drops generates the formation of cloudsand the increase in its density and size causes precipitation.

mist and dew

Left: forest with fog. Right: leaf with dewdrops.

Condensation can also occur in the form of fog either fog. Water vapor accumulates and remains suspended above the earth’s surface in the form of low clouds.

When this phenomenon occurs on the surface of the sea, it is called haze.

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Another kind of condensation is Dewwhich consists of the formation of drops that settle on a surface, generally the soil and the vegetal layer.

It occurs at night, when the atmospheric temperature drops and the air reaches its saturation level, that is, it can no longer accumulate more water vapor.

When the dew settles on a surface whose temperature is below 0 °C, the drops freeze, giving rise to the Frost.

Examples of condensation

Condensation on glass and aircraft contrails

Left: misted car window. Right: contrails generated by the aircraft’s engines.

fogged up windows: when we are inside the car, the air we breathe is cooled by the difference in temperature between the interior and the exterior.

aircraft contrails: the gases emitted by the plane’s engines cool when they come into contact with the air, forming long condensation trails as they pass.

exhalation of vapor: when breathing through the mask, the vapor we give off hits the lenses of the glasses, forming microscopic droplets that fog up the glass.

foggy mirror: The water vapor generated by the hot water from the shower touches the mirror surface and causes it to fog up.

See also:

  • Water cycle.
  • Precipitation.
  • Evaporation.
  • Solidification
  • Physical properties.