General Science eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 287 pages of information about General Science.

22.  General Truths.  Statements similar to the above hold for other liquids and for solutions.  If milk is placed upon a stove, the temperature rises steadily until the boiling point is reached; further heating produces, not a change in temperature, but a change of the water of the milk into steam.  As soon as the milk, or any other liquid food, comes to a boil, the gas flame should be lowered until only an occasional bubble forms, because so long as any bubbles form the temperature is that of the boiling point, and further heat merely results in waste of fuel.

We find by experiment that every liquid has its own specific boiling point; for example, alcohol boils at 78 deg.  C. and brine at 103 deg.  C. Both specific heat and the heat of vaporization vary with the liquid used.

23.  Condensation.  If one holds a cold lid in the steam of boiling water, drops of water gather on the lid; the steam is cooled by contact with the cold lid and condenses into water.  Bottles of water brought from a cold cellar into a warm room become covered with a mist of fine drops of water, because the moisture in the air, chilled by contact with the cold bottles, immediately condenses into drops of water.  Glasses filled with ice water show a similar mist.

In Section 21, we saw that 536 calories are required to change 1 gram of water into steam; if, now, the steam in turn condenses into water, it is natural to expect a release of the heat used in transforming water into steam.  Experiment shows not only that vapor gives out heat during condensation, but that the amount of heat thus set free is exactly equal to the amount absorbed during vaporization. (See Laboratory Manual.)

We learn that the heat of vaporization is the same whether it is considered as the heat absorbed by 1 gram of water in its change to steam, or as the heat given out by 1 gram of steam during its condensation into water.

24.  Practical Application.  We understand now the value of steam as a heating agent.  Water is heated in a boiler in the cellar, and the steam passes through pipes which run to the various rooms; there the steam condenses into water in the radiators, each gram of steam setting free 536 calories of heat.  When we consider the size of the radiators and the large number of grams of steam which they contain, and consider further that each gram in condensing sets free 536 calories, we understand the ease with which buildings are heated by steam.

Most of us have at times profited by the heat of condensation.  In cold weather, when there is a roaring fire in the range, the water frequently becomes so hot that it “steams” out of open faucets.  If, at such times, the hot water is turned on in a small cold bathroom, and is allowed to run until the tub is well filled, vapor condenses on windows, mirrors, and walls, and the cold room becomes perceptibly warmer.  The heat given out by the condensing steam passes into the surrounding air and warms the room.

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General Science from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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