Why does temperature remain constant when water is boiling?

PoentWeptgj

PoentWeptgj

Answered

2022-07-14

Why does temperature remain constant when water is boiling?

Answer & Explanation

Trace House

Trace House

Expert

2022-07-15Added 7 answers

This is because the external pressure is constant (at one atmosphere). If you increase the pressure, e.g. by using a pressure cooker, then the temperature goes up, or likewise if you reduce the pressure the temperature goes down.
Water boils when the chemical potential of the water is the same as the chemical potential of the steam. If we consider steam as an ideal gas then the chemical potential is controlled by the pressure and temperature.
If you start with just water at below 100ºC then the water evaporates, and the partial pressure of the water vapour increases until the chemical potential of the vapour and water match. At that point there is no net evaporation of the water.
However at 100ºC the partial pressure of the steam in equilibrium with the water rises to one atmosphere and it can't get any higher. So if you raise the temperature above 100ºC the water and vapour cannot be in equilibrium so the water boils continuously in a desperate but hopeless attempt to raise the steam pressure.
This is how pressure cookers raise the boiling point. At 100ºC the water boils, but in a pressure cooker it can raise the steam pressure to above an atmosphere so the water can remain in equilibrium with the steam above 100ºC.

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