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What is Latent Heat Of Water

Latent heat is the quantity of heat absorbed or released by a substance undergoing a change of state, such as ice changing to water or water to steam, at constant temperature and pressure. Also called heat of transformation.

Water is an excellent means of controlling temperature due to its unusually high capacity for latent heats of fusion and evaporation. Waters latent heat of fusion is 79.7 calories while its latent heat of evaporation is 539.4 calories.

What this means is that as the temperature of ice is raised to its melting point the ice absorbs 80 calories per gram before undergoing a phase change. Since this process is slow water will in its solid and liquid phase with be present at the same time until enough heat has been absorbed. The same thing occurs when it reaches it reaches its boiling point. Until the water has been absorbed at 539.4 calories per gram water will exist in both liquid and gas states. Upon reaching 539.4 calories the water will have transformed from liquid to gas.

If the previous example is reversed water will release heat to the surroundings. As water condenses it gives off 539.4 calories per gram. As water freezes it gives off 79.7 calories per gram. A good example is the turbulence of thunderstorms. This is because of the release of large amounts of energy into the atmosphere as water condenses into droplets of rain or crystals of ice or snow etc. The best example of this is hail which usually accompanies tornadoes. Thunderstorms release large amounts of energy with modest ones releasing more energy than a 120 kiloton nuclear bomb.

More Information About Water

  • Molecular Structure
  • The Three States
  • Sublimation
  • Supercooled Water
  • Heavy Water
  • Properties
  • Heat Capacity
  • Latent Heats
  • Solvent
  • Surface Tension
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