What is vaporization?

Vaporization is the act and consequence of vaporization. This verb, on the other hand, can refer to turning a fluid into vapor through heat, or to spreading a fluid into small-sized droplets.

Vaporization, therefore, can be the change of state from a liquid to a gas. This process can be carried out in two ways: when the transition from liquid to gas occurs throughout the mass of the substance, it is called boiling. The boiling point in this context is the temperature that causes a liquid, at a given pressure, to boil and begin to undergo said change of state; If this only occurs at the surface of the liquid, the phenomenon is known as evaporation.

Enthalpy of vaporization, on the other hand, is the energy required for a unit mass of a liquid substance, which is at atmospheric pressure and in equilibrium with its vapor, to completely change into a gas. In turn, the term enthalpy is defined as a thermodynamic quantity whose variation serves to express a measure of the amount that a thermodynamic system has transferred or absorbed energy; in other words, the exchange of energy it maintains with its environment. Enthalpy is symbolized by H. There is also the concept of heat of vaporization, which represents the amount of energy required to change 1 gram of liquid to gas at the boiling point of a given substance. This is a value that should break the intermolecular forces of attraction and provide enough energy for the gas to expand. When we are faced with an ideal gas, after the heat of vaporization, there should be no potential energy associated with these forces. In other words, the internal energy must be molecular kinetic, largely translational, but also rotational and vibrational. One of the most striking points of water vaporization is the great change that its volume undergoes when it changes phase. Let’s see an example: if we take a mole of water (18 grams) and convert it into gas, we will obtain a volume of 22.4 liters; If, on the other hand, we took it to 100°C instead of 0°C and turned it into steam, its volume would be 30.6 liters. If we compare the volume of evaporated water with that of the liquid state, we notice an increase of 1,700%, that is, it occupies 1,700 times more than before. This phenomenon is of great importance for firefighters, for example, as in certain cases it can cause explosions.

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When vapors are used for medicinal purposes, vaporization is also referred to. A person who goes to a hot spring area to breathe in the mist is resorting to vaporization. Let us take the case of a subject who has a cold and who, due to this disorder, has difficulty breathing, as he suffers from nasal congestion. With the intention of freeing your nostrils, you can heat water in a pot until it boils and inhale the steam. This vaporization will help improve breathing. This technique can be very beneficial for our health, but also for the care of our physical appearance. Steaming is used in beauty treatments, to improve the skin of the entire body, clearing certain external factors and preventing certain infections. When you breathe in water vapor, the respiratory mucosa softens; at the same time, the parts of the skin that come in contact with the steam relax, their pores open and facilitate the elimination of waste.

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