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Condensation of vapor refers to the physical change of state from vapor phase to the liquid phase. By condensation, we commonly refer to the condensation of water vapor. Therefore, we can also define the condensation as the change in phase from water vapor to liquid water. If you notice carefully, you will find that this process is the reverse of vaporization.
Condensation happens when vapor molecules, mostly water vapor comes in contact with cold environment or surface and transforms into a liquid. Please remember the direct transition from the gaseous phase to the solid phase is known as a deposition.
The kinetic energy associated with gas molecules is usually higher than that of liquid molecules. When gas molecules come in contact with a cold environment, they lose some of their kinetic energy and transform into liquid. When they lose most of their kinetic energy and turn into solid directly, we call it deposition.
Below we mention a few examples of condensation to make you familiar with this important phase transition phenomena.
Examples of Condensation
- Condensation on a window during cold and humid weather. Condensation of water vapor on a closed window during the rainy season is a common phenomenon. This happens when water vapor present in the air comes in contact with a relatively cold glass window. Water vapor releases latent heat to transform into liquid. Related Article: Examples of Vaporization.
- A similar phenomenon happens in the body of a cold soda bottle. This is pretty common in a humid environment. However, the place I belong to becomes very dry during summer, and this does not happen very prominently.
- The formation of dew on green leaves is an example of condensation. Dew forms on green leaves in the cold morning when water vapor in the air comes in contact with fresh leaves.
- Formation of fog in the bathroom mirror. Did not you see your bathroom mirror becoming foggy after taking a shower? This is also due to condensation.
Phase Transition Table
In the table below, I have summarized different phase transition nomenclature for your convenience. On the left-hand side, the initial phases are tabulated and at the top, the final phases are noted.
Good to know:
An instrument used to condense gas molecules from the gaseous phase to the liquid phase is known as condenser. Condenser usually absorbs latent heat at relatively high pressure to expedite the phase transition. The condenser coil of a refrigerator or air conditioner is an example of such device.
A psychrometer is a device to measure the rate of condensation.
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