In the summertime, after working under the sun when we feel very thirsty. After reaching home, when we take a cold water bottle from the refrigerator we can notice small droplets of water outside the bottle. Where did these water droplets come in the bottle? This happens due to a phenomenon called condensation.

What is Condensation?

Condensation is the change of physical state of matter from gaseous phase into liquid phase. It is a process in which water vapor (gaseous form) in the air changes into liquid water when it touches a cooler surface. When water in the air comes in contact with a cold surface, it condenses to form water droplets. This phenomenon is known as condensation. The reverse of condensation is evaporation.

Process of Condensation

Condensation of water happens when water changes its phase from gaseous state to liquid or crystal shape. At high pressure and low temperature, any gas can condense. Technically the process of condensation can happen at any temperature as long as the pressure of the liquid state of the gas is less than the pressure of the condensing gas. The molecules in the matter slow down during the process of condensation because the heat energy is taken away, which causes a change within the three states of matter, that is it changes the matter into the solid state.

Condensation: Water Cycle

Condensation is important to the water cycle as it is responsible for the formation of clouds. Water vapor present in the air is responsible for the formation of clouds which ultimately comes down in the form of rain. This phase change of water between solid, liquid and gas is because of the movement of water molecules. In vapor form, water molecules are arranged randomly as compared to the liquid state. As condensation happens, water molecules become more organized and as a result, heat is released into the atmosphere leading to a change of phase from the vapor state to the liquid state. This generally occurs in the atmosphere when warm air rises up and cools down.

Water CycleFor condensation to take place, it is very important that the atmosphere is fully saturated (to reach maximum vapor pressure). Usually, condensation takes place around dust particles or smoke or microscopic bacteria. It plays a very significant role in the water cycle and thus helps in maintaining the water balance in the environment. It is also used in various industrial processes by the scientists and engineers for separating mixtures and manufacturing pure substances.

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Practise This Question

For an ideal gas (CPCv=γ); of molar mass M, its specific heat capacity at constant volume is: