Boiling and evaporation, while sharing the same general idea of water transforming from a liquid state into a gaseous state, are two very different concepts overall. These terms cannot be used interchangeably.
By definition, boiling is the rapid vaporization of a liquid once it reaches its boiling point. Most liquids have a boiling point that creates agitated, more rapid movement within the particles of the substance.
- Boiling involves heating a liquid until it reaches its boiling point, causing rapid vaporization; evaporation is a gradual process that occurs at any temperature as molecules escape from a liquid’s surface.
- Boiling happens throughout the entire volume of a liquid, with bubbles forming and rising; evaporation only occurs at the liquid’s surface, with no visible bubbles.
- Boiling is quicker due to the high heat input, which accelerates vaporization; evaporation is slower, relying on ambient heat and varying with humidity and airflow.
Boiling vs Evaporation
Boiling occurs when a liquid is heated to its boiling point, which is the temperature at which the vapor pressure of the liquid equals the atmospheric pressure. Evaporation occurs when a liquid is heated but not to its boiling point, and the molecules of the liquid escape into the air as vapor.
Most of the time, boiling is not a naturally occurring process, unlike evaporation. Evaporation is natural, commonly referred to in the water cycle.
Evaporation can occur at any given moment, regardless of an increase in temperature. Leave a glass of water on the countertop long enough, and watch as the water levels go down without human interference.
|Parameter of Comparison||Boiling||Evaporation|
|Definition||“Steaming or bubbling up under the action of heat.”||“To change from a liquid or solid state into vapour.”|
|Movement of Particles||Boiling creates a highly rapid movement of water particles as this is an endothermic process that signifies adding heat to a substance.||Molecules are constantly moving but at a much slower rate than boiling.|
|Natural or Unnatural?||Boiling is an unnatural process.||Evaporation is a natural process known as the first step in the Water Cycle.|
|Where it Occurs||It occurs throughout the liquid due to the addition of so much heat||Occurs at the surface of the liquid|
|Time||A shorter period||It takes longer to complete|
|Temperature||Requires a temperature that is greater than the boiling point||Requires little change in temperature|
|Energy Required||Lots of energy being added||Little to no energy is added|
What is Boiling?
Whether you set off to boil a pot of water or any other liquid, the addition of intense heat excites these liquid molecules into rushing throughout the substance.
All it takes for something to boil is when that liquid, or an object that was once a solid, reaches temperatures higher than its melting point and boiling point.
The intensity of so much energy being added in order to make something boil causes molecules to separate and turn into gaseous molecules, which then promptly are so lightweight that they can enter the atmosphere in less than a few seconds.
One of the key ways to determine when a liquid has transcended past its boiling point is when there is a precise formation of bubbles.
When the water has elevated beyond its boiling point, the heat energy from some energy source like a stove or a fire gets transferred to the water molecules, which get more excited and animated by adding energy.
Their rapid movement causes the molecules to have too much energy to stay together in their liquid state of matter.
With the intense temperatures breaking the bonds between the elements making up the molecules, the molecules are lightweight and are subject to becoming airborne.
When this occurs, they have entered from the liquid state of matter into gaseous molecules of water vapour, which then float to the surface in the form of air pockets, or bubbles, and get released into the air.
What is Evaporation?
Evaporation is a natural process that can be seen and experienced in the natural world. Ever seen thick clouds of fog rising over the surface of a lake of water or hovering above the ground?
Fog is evaporation to the extreme, where many particles of water rise due to the difference in air temperature compared to the ground.
On a foggy morning, the sun has risen, and the air temperature has become warmer than the internal temperature of the ground or body of water.
The foggy air feels so thick and suffocating to the skin because of the number of water molecules being released into the air at once.
Molecules are constantly moving, and any addition of energy or thermal heat causes water molecules to bump into each other repeatedly.
Any movement of molecules as they hit against one another transfers from one water molecule into another. This movement and transfer of energy results in one water molecule being left with just a little less mass than the other.
This lighter molecule can break free from the surface where most heat has reached and evaporates into the air.
Main Differences Between Boiling and Evaporation
- Copyright law protects literary, dramatic, musical, and other similar artistic creations, whereas patent laws stress protecting inventions.
- There is no need to register copyright because it comes into existence with its creation. A national or international patent organization must register patents before they can be protected by the laws governing them.
- The practice of the idea is the main objective of the patent. On the other hand, it’s the expression of the idea focused on the copyright end.
- Copyrights are the special rights given to the creator of the original work, which dismisses the performance and production of the work. Patents are legal grants given by the government to stop the manufacture and trading of an invention for a set duration of time.
- Copyright is granted for 50-70 years after the death of the original creator of the copyright. However, a patent is valid to the author for 20 years.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.