Condensation

Condensation

Overview

Condensation is the change of the physical state of matter
State of matter
States of matter are the distinct forms that different phases of matter take on. Solid, liquid and gas are the most common states of matter on Earth. However, much of the baryonic matter of the universe is in the form of hot plasma, both as rarefied interstellar medium and as dense...

 from gaseous phase into liquid phase, and is the reverse of vaporization
Vaporization
Vaporization of an element or compound is a phase transition from the liquid or solid phase to gas phase. There are three types of vaporization: evaporation, boiling and sublimation....

. When the transition happens from the gaseous phase into the solid phase directly, the change is called deposition
Deposition (physics)
Deposition is a process in which gas transforms into solid . The reverse of deposition is sublimation.One example of deposition is the process by which, in sub-freezing air, water vapor changes directly to ice without first becoming a liquid...

.

Condensation is initiated by the formation of atomic/molecular clusters of that species within its gaseous volume—like rain drop or snow-flake formation within clouds—or at the contact between such gaseous phase and a (solvent) liquid or solid surface.

A few distinct reversibility scenarios emerge here with respect to the nature of the surface.
  • absorption into the surface of a liquid (either of the same species or one of its solvents)—is reversible as evaporation
    Evaporation
    Evaporation is a type of vaporization of a liquid that occurs only on the surface of a liquid. The other type of vaporization is boiling, which, instead, occurs on the entire mass of the liquid....

    .
  • adsorption
    Adsorption
    Adsorption is the adhesion of atoms, ions, biomolecules or molecules of gas, liquid, or dissolved solids to a surface. This process creates a film of the adsorbate on the surface of the adsorbent. It differs from absorption, in which a fluid permeates or is dissolved by a liquid or solid...

     (as dew droplets) onto solid surface at pressures and temperatures higher than the specie's triple point
    Triple point
    In thermodynamics, the triple point of a substance is the temperature and pressure at which the three phases of that substance coexist in thermodynamic equilibrium...

    —also reversible as evaporation.
  • adsorption onto solid surface (as supplemental layers of solid) at pressures and temperatures lower than the specie's triple point
    Triple point
    In thermodynamics, the triple point of a substance is the temperature and pressure at which the three phases of that substance coexist in thermodynamic equilibrium...

    —is reversible as sublimation
    Sublimation (physics)
    Sublimation is the process of transition of a substance from the solid phase to the gas phase without passing through an intermediate liquid phase...

    .


Condensation commonly occurs when a vapour is cooled and/or compressed to its saturation limit
Dew point
The dew point is the temperature to which a given parcel of humid air must be cooled, at constant barometric pressure, for water vapor to condense into liquid water. The condensed water is called dew when it forms on a solid surface. The dew point is a saturation temperature.The dew point is...

 when the molecular density in the gas phase reaches its maximal threshold.
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Encyclopedia

Condensation is the change of the physical state of matter
State of matter
States of matter are the distinct forms that different phases of matter take on. Solid, liquid and gas are the most common states of matter on Earth. However, much of the baryonic matter of the universe is in the form of hot plasma, both as rarefied interstellar medium and as dense...

 from gaseous phase into liquid phase, and is the reverse of vaporization
Vaporization
Vaporization of an element or compound is a phase transition from the liquid or solid phase to gas phase. There are three types of vaporization: evaporation, boiling and sublimation....

. When the transition happens from the gaseous phase into the solid phase directly, the change is called deposition
Deposition (physics)
Deposition is a process in which gas transforms into solid . The reverse of deposition is sublimation.One example of deposition is the process by which, in sub-freezing air, water vapor changes directly to ice without first becoming a liquid...

.

Condensation is initiated by the formation of atomic/molecular clusters of that species within its gaseous volume—like rain drop or snow-flake formation within clouds—or at the contact between such gaseous phase and a (solvent) liquid or solid surface.

A few distinct reversibility scenarios emerge here with respect to the nature of the surface.
  • absorption into the surface of a liquid (either of the same species or one of its solvents)—is reversible as evaporation
    Evaporation
    Evaporation is a type of vaporization of a liquid that occurs only on the surface of a liquid. The other type of vaporization is boiling, which, instead, occurs on the entire mass of the liquid....

    .
  • adsorption
    Adsorption
    Adsorption is the adhesion of atoms, ions, biomolecules or molecules of gas, liquid, or dissolved solids to a surface. This process creates a film of the adsorbate on the surface of the adsorbent. It differs from absorption, in which a fluid permeates or is dissolved by a liquid or solid...

     (as dew droplets) onto solid surface at pressures and temperatures higher than the specie's triple point
    Triple point
    In thermodynamics, the triple point of a substance is the temperature and pressure at which the three phases of that substance coexist in thermodynamic equilibrium...

    —also reversible as evaporation.
  • adsorption onto solid surface (as supplemental layers of solid) at pressures and temperatures lower than the specie's triple point
    Triple point
    In thermodynamics, the triple point of a substance is the temperature and pressure at which the three phases of that substance coexist in thermodynamic equilibrium...

    —is reversible as sublimation
    Sublimation (physics)
    Sublimation is the process of transition of a substance from the solid phase to the gas phase without passing through an intermediate liquid phase...

    .


Condensation commonly occurs when a vapour is cooled and/or compressed to its saturation limit
Dew point
The dew point is the temperature to which a given parcel of humid air must be cooled, at constant barometric pressure, for water vapor to condense into liquid water. The condensed water is called dew when it forms on a solid surface. The dew point is a saturation temperature.The dew point is...

 when the molecular density in the gas phase reaches its maximal threshold. Vapour cooling and compressing equipment that collects condensed liquids is called "condenser"
Condenser (heat transfer)
In systems involving heat transfer, a condenser is a device or unit used to condense a substance from its gaseous to its liquid state, typically by cooling it. In so doing, the latent heat is given up by the substance, and will transfer to the condenser coolant...

.

Psychrometry measures the rates of condensation from and evaporation into the air moisture at various atmospheric pressures and temperatures. Water is the product of its vapour condensation—condensation is the process of such phase conversion.

Applications of condensation


Condensation is a crucial component of distillation
Distillation
Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatilities of components in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation, or a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction....

, an important laboratory and industrial chemistry application.

Because condensation is a naturally occurring phenomenon, it can often be used to generate water in large quantities for human use. Many structures are made solely for the purpose of collecting water from condensation, such as air wells
Air well (condenser)
An air well or aerial well is a structure or device that collects water by promoting the condensation of moisture from air. Designs for air wells are many and varied, but the simplest designs are completely passive, require no external energy source and have few, if any, moving parts.Three...

 and fog fence
Fog fence
A fog fence or fog collector is an apparatus for collecting liquid water from fog, using a fine mesh or array of parallel wires. Proposed geometries include linear, similar to a fence and cylindrical. It has the advantage of being passive, requiring no external energy source to perform its...

s. Such systems can often be used to retain soil moisture in areas where active desertification
Desertification
Desertification is the degradation of land in drylands. Caused by a variety of factors, such as climate change and human activities, desertification is one of the most significant global environmental problems.-Definitions:...

 is occurring—so much so that some organizations educate people living in affected areas about water condensers to help them deal effectively with the situation.

It is also a crucial process in forming particle tracks in a Cloud Chamber. In this case, ions produced by an incident particle act as nucleation centres for the vapour to condense on.

Biological adaptation


Numerous living organisms use water made accessible by condensation. A few examples are the Australian Thorny Devil
Thorny Devil
Thorny Devil is an Australian lizard. It is also known as the Thorny Dragon, Mountain Devil, Thorny Lizard, or the Moloch and is the sole species of genus Moloch....

, Darkling beetle
Darkling beetle
Darkling beetles are a family of beetles found worldwide, estimated at more than 20,000 species. Many of the beetles have black elytra, leading to their common name...

s on the Namibian coast and Coast Redwoods on the west coast of the United States.

Condensation in building construction



Condensation in building construction
Construction
In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking...

 is an unwanted phenomenon
Phenomenon
A phenomenon , plural phenomena, is any observable occurrence. Phenomena are often, but not always, understood as 'appearances' or 'experiences'...

 as it may cause dampness, mold health issues, wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

 rot
Dry rot
Dry rot refers to a type of wood decay caused by certain types of fungi, also known as True Dry Rot, that digests parts of the wood which give the wood strength and stiffness...

, corrosion
Corrosion
Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen...

 and energy loss due to increased heat transfer
Heat transfer
Heat transfer is a discipline of thermal engineering that concerns the exchange of thermal energy from one physical system to another. Heat transfer is classified into various mechanisms, such as heat conduction, convection, thermal radiation, and phase-change transfer...

.

Interstructure condensation may be caused by thermal bridge
Thermal bridge
A thermal bridge, also called a cold bridge, is a fundamental of heat transfer where a penetration of the insulation layer by a highly conductive or noninsulating material takes place in the separation between the interior and exterior environments of a building assembly .Thermal...

s, insufficient or lacking damp proofing
Damp proofing
Damp proofing in construction is a type of waterproofing applied to building foundation walls to prevent moisture from passing through the walls into interior spaces....

 or insulated glazing
Insulated glazing
Insulated glazing also known as double glazing are double or triple glass window panes separated by an air or other gas filled space to reduce heat transfer across a part of the building envelope....

.

See also

  • Air well (condenser)
    Air well (condenser)
    An air well or aerial well is a structure or device that collects water by promoting the condensation of moisture from air. Designs for air wells are many and varied, but the simplest designs are completely passive, require no external energy source and have few, if any, moving parts.Three...

  • Bose–Einstein condensate
    Bose–Einstein condensate
    A Bose–Einstein condensate is a state of matter of a dilute gas of weakly interacting bosons confined in an external potential and cooled to temperatures very near absolute zero . Under such conditions, a large fraction of the bosons occupy the lowest quantum state of the external potential, at...

  • Condenser (heat transfer)
    Condenser (heat transfer)
    In systems involving heat transfer, a condenser is a device or unit used to condense a substance from its gaseous to its liquid state, typically by cooling it. In so doing, the latent heat is given up by the substance, and will transfer to the condenser coolant...

  • DNA condensation
    DNA condensation
    DNA condensation refers to the process of compacting DNA molecules in vitro or in vivo. Mechanistic details of DNA packing are essential for its functioning in the process of gene regulation in living systems. Condensed DNA often has surprising properties, which one would not predict from classical...

  • Kelvin equation
    Kelvin equation
    The Kelvin equation describes the change in vapour pressure due to a curved liquid/vapor interface with radius r . The Kelvin equation is used for determination of pore size distribution of a porous medium using adsorption porosimetry...

  • Phase diagram
    Phase diagram
    A phase diagram in physical chemistry, engineering, mineralogy, and materials science is a type of chart used to show conditions at which thermodynamically distinct phases can occur at equilibrium...

  • Phase transition
    Phase transition
    A phase transition is the transformation of a thermodynamic system from one phase or state of matter to another.A phase of a thermodynamic system and the states of matter have uniform physical properties....

  • Retrograde condensation
    Retrograde condensation
    Retrograde condensation occurs when gas in a tube is compressed beyond the point of condensation with the effect that the liquid evaporates again. This is the opposite of condensation the so called retrograde condensation.-Description:...

  • Surface condenser