Water vs Steam: Difference and Comparison

Water is very essential for every living thing. In some organisms, up to ninety percent of the body weight is contributed by water.

In the human body, sixty percent of the body weight comes from water. Water has several forms, like steam, vapor, snow, and ice. Each has a distinct nature.

Water and steam are also different.

Key Takeaways

  1. Water is a liquid form of H2O at or below 100 degrees Celsius, while steam is a gaseous form of H2O above 100 degrees Celsius.
  2. Water has a higher density and lower volume than steam.
  3. Water has a higher specific heat capacity and thermal conductivity than steam.

Water vs Steam

The difference between water and steam is that water is in the liquid form, on the other hand, steam refers to water in the gaseous form.

Water can be seen by the naked eye easily, and it has visibility. But steam is invisible or colorless in its purest and most natural state (without adding condensed water to it). 

Water vs Steam

Water is a substance made of chemical elements like oxygen and hydrogen.

It is an odorless and tasteless liquid (at room temperature) and is considered one of the most essential and plentiful compounds.

It is colorless in small quantities but has an intrinsic blue color. It also exists on other moons and planets both beyond and within the solar system.

Steam is the gaseous form of liquid water. When liquid water boils at 100-degree temperature, it transforms into a gaseous form which is called steam.

Steam is invisible in its most natural and purest state. Most people identify steam coming out from boiling water as visible and colored white.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonWaterSteam
StateWater is a liquid.     Steam is water in a gaseous state.
TemperatureThe temperature of the water remains between 0 degrees to 99 degrees.     The temperature of the steam is 100 degrees.
VisibilityWater is visible to the naked eye. In small quantities water is colorless, but it has a blue color.      Steam in its most natural and purest state can not be seen by naked eyes. Though, most people identify steam coming out from boiling water to be visible and colored white.
MoleculesThe molecules of water are tighter and less fast compared to steam.     The molecules of steam are looser and faster compared to water.
Burning risk Water doesn’t have any burning risk, rather it is used to extinguish fires.     Steam can produce severe burning.

What is Water?

Water is an odorless and colorless substance made of hydrogen and oxygen found all around the earth.

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Each molecule present in water is made of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. 

Water can be found in three forms: gas, solid, and liquid.

Water in a gaseous form is found in the air, water in the solid form is found as ice in the South and North poles, and water in the liquid form is found in streams, rivers, oceans, lakes, etc.

Water is also present in every living thing- animals and plants- and water is stored underground. 

People can survive weeks without having food, but without water, it is impossible to live for even a few days.

Water is considered a very important resource that has several uses like cleaning, power generation, food production, transportation, reaction, and many more. 

Water has a vital economic role in the world economy. Almost 70% of the freshwater is used in agricultural production. Fishing in fresh and salt water is the major resource of food in many countries.

Many trading products are transported through water bodies like rivers, oceans, canals, and lakes. 

Most of the civilizations have flourished around the rivers and other types of water bodies. Mesopotamia to Egyptian to Indus civilizations is centered around water bodies.

Rome also flourished on the banks of the Italian river named the Tiber.

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What is Steam?

Steam is invisible, odorless, and gaseous for water. Steam is interspersed with minute water droplets, which gives it a cloudy, white appearance.

When water is given heat and starts to boil at 100 degrees, it forms steam. Through technological systems, steam can also be generated. 

Steam also has the risk of producing severe burns. If liquid water depressurizes below quickly below its vapor pressure or comes into contact with a very hot surface, it can create a steam explosion.

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In industrial sectors, steam power is considered one of the most important power sources.

In power plants, water is heated to form steam which in pressurized form drives turbines that can produce an electric current.

In this way, the thermal energy of steam is converted to mechanical energy in the power plants, which is eventually converted into electricity.

The second revolution was started by using steam power during the mid-19th century. Steam is also used in several chemical processes, especially in the petrochemical industry.

Hydrocarbons with lower weight are produced by steam cracking of long-chain hydrocarbons for chemical or fuel applications. Steam reforming produces hydrogen and syngas.

Steam is also used for domestic works like cooking foods, steam cleaning of flooring, carpets, and fabric. In these cases, water is boiled to create steam.

steam

Main Difference Between Water and Steam 

  1. Water is a liquid, but steam is water in a gaseous state.
  2. The temperature of the water remains between 0 degrees to 99 degrees. On the other hand, the temperature of the steam is 100 degrees.
  3. Water is visible to the naked eye. In small quantities, water is colorless, but it has a blue color. The naked eye can not see steam in its most natural and purest state. Most people identify steam coming out from boiling water as visible and colored white.
  4. The molecules of water are tighter and less fast compared to steam. On the contrary, the steam molecules are looser and faster than water.
  5. Water doesn’t have any burning risk, rather, it is used to extinguish fires, while steam can produce severe burning.
Difference Between Water and Steam

References

  1. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=what+is+water&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3D3TjIBi2Ivu8J
  2. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=what+is+water+steam&oq=what+is+water+stea#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3DYlxRJNVe7X8J

Last Updated : 27 June, 2023

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