Difference Between Vapor and Gas (With Table)

In science, the matter is anything which occupies space and which has mass. There are three states of matter; solid, liquid, and gas. All three states of matter are important for the environment in one or the other form. Gas is also considered a state of matter although it is not visible still it occupies space and has some volume and mass.

Although there are several things which are not categorized under three States of matter, their existence is still important. With the temperature change, the three states of matter can interchange themselves, for example, solid ice can turn into water that is liquid and by getting heated up it can change into gas as well.

Vapor vs Gas

The difference between vapor and gas is that vapor is not a gaseous state of matter, it can be solid or liquid but gas is a gaseous state of matter. Although, they might seem confusing as both of them are in a gaseous state. 

Comparison Table Between Vapor and Gas

Parameters of Comparison VaporGas
DefinitionState of transition from liquid to gas, which is formed by boiling a liquid (this process is also known as evaporation).One of the three states of matter, it is made up of elemental molecules or compound molecules, like air, which contains several pure gases. 
Inclusion in State of matterNot includedIncluded
FormationForms when at temperatures below the boiling point of water.Forms when above its critical temperature.
Shape under microscope Has a definite shapeDoes not have a definite shape
ExamplesChemicals in perfumes, mist, etc.Air, oxygen, carbon dioxide, etc.

What is Vapor?

Vapor can be defined as the state of transition from liquid to gas, which is formed by boiling a liquid (this process is also known as evaporation). Vapor is different from the aerosol. 

Under the microscope, vapor has a definite shape, It consists of molecules which move randomly in any direction. The state of equilibrium is maintained when vapor is in contact with the liquid or solid phase. In the procedure of cloud formation and condensation, the vapor is responsible.

Since vapor is in the gas phase it is measurable, and it also obeys barometric formula in the gravitational field. The vapor pressure is the equilibrium pressure from liquid or a solid at a specific temperature it can be seen with the help of graphs. At the normal boiling point, the vapor pressure is equal to the normal atmospheric pressure.

Examples of vapor are; atmospheric water vapor, which is found near the surface of the earth and may condense in forms of small liquid droplets in form of fog or mist. Perfumes contain several chemicals which vaporize at different temperatures, there are mercury vapor lamps available, etc.

Vapor is the result of any process, either of boiling or evaporation through vaporization of any liquid, the transitional phase contains vapor. Evaporation and boiling of any liquid occur when its boiling temperature at a given pressure.

What is Gas?

Gas is one of the three states of matter, it is made up of elemental molecules or compound molecules, like air, which contains several pure gases. Gases have low density, which means they have great space between molecules which have a lot of kinetic energy.

Natural gas is a gas which contains methane, a compound with one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms, it contains vapor, non-hydrocarbon gases and some amount of natural gas liquids. Some of the elemental gases are; hydrogen, nitrogen, fluorine, helium, oxygen, argon, neon, etc.

Gases are difficult to observe with naked but it can be felt like air is always present in the atmosphere (vacuum is an exceptional case ), oxygen and carbon dioxide are important gases in the human respiratory system but they cannot be seen easily. Some gases have odor thus, they can be smelled easily. 

Gases are easy to compress due to low density, and they occupy larger space than any solid or liquid. Gases also have properties of infusibility, and they do not have any definite shape. Gases can be compressed and stored easily when too much pressure is exerted on gases they even formulate in some sort of liquid.

Few examples of gases are; air, ammonia, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hexane, methanol, methane, nitrogen, neon, helium, oxygen, etc. Some toxic gases are; chlorine, arsine, bromine, germane, phosphine, etc.

Main Differences Between Vapor and Gas 

  1. Vapor is the state of transition from liquid to gas, which is formed by boiling a liquid, on the other hand, gas is one of the three states of matter, it is made up of elemental molecules or compound molecules, like air, which contains several pure gases.
  2. Vapor is a definite shape under microscopic observation on the other hand gas does not have any definite shape under microscopic observation. 
  3. Vapor is a gaseous phase but not considered as a state of matter but gas is one of the three states of matter.
  4. The vapor of water is present in the environment all the time at temperatures below the boiling point of water, on the other hand, gas forms above its critical temperature.
  5. Some examples of vapor are; fog, mist, chemicals in perfumes, mercury vapor lamps, etc., on the other hand, few examples of gas are; air, oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane, etc.

Conclusion 

Vapor and gas are not visible with naked eyes but can be observed under a microscope, they are always present in nature, within the atmosphere.

Vapor and gas might sound confusing but they are different from each other, and cannot be used interchangeably.

Gases have several properties which vapor does not possess, and vapor has properties which gases might not have. 

It is important to distinguish between both, as vapor is different from gas, their uses are different from each other and their state of matter is also different.

References 

  1. https://aip.scitation.org/doi/pdf/10.1063/1.1753975%40apl.2019.APLCLASS2019.issue-1
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1557/JMR.1986.0205
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