Steam

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Steam is either mist (as seen from a kettle), or the gas phase of water (water vapor).

In common speech, steam most often refers to the visible white mist that condenses above boiling water as the hot vapor mixes with the cooler air. This mist consists of tiny droplets of liquid water. Pure steam emerges at the base of the spout of a steaming kettle where there is no visible vapor.

Pure steam is a transparent gas. At standard temperature and pressure, pure steam (unmixed with air, but in equilibrium with liquid water) occupies about 1,600 times the volume of an equal mass of liquid water. In the atmosphere, the partial pressure of water is much lower than 1 atm, therefore gaseous water can exist at temperatures much lower than 100 °C (212 °F) (see water vapor and humidity).


Contents

Saturated steam

Saturated steam is steam at equilibrium with liquid water [1]. It defines the boundary between wet steam and superheated steam on the temperature-enthalpy diagram.

Superheated steam

Superheated steam is steam at a temperature higher than its boiling point at a given pressure. For superheating to take place one of two things must occur. Either all of the liquid water must have evaporated or, in the case of steam generators (boilers), the saturated steam must be conveyed out of the steam drum before superheating can occur, as steam can not be superheated in the presence of liquid water.[2]

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