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Why does steam have a lower specific heat than water?

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2010-09-11 20:28:33
2010-09-11 20:28:33

First we must understand that there is a direct correlation between temperature of a substance and the amount of molecular movement. At absolute zero the molecules do not move at all. As the temperature increases, so does movement. As movement increases, so does temperature.

Water has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. The oxygen of one water molecule has two lone pairs of electrons. Each can form a hydrogen bond with the hydrogen on two other water molecules. This repeats so that every water molecule is bonded to four others (two through its lone pairs and two through its two hydrogen atoms.) These bonds restrict movement.

Since heat makes molecules move and the hydrogen bonds resist this movement, it takes more energy to break the bonds of liquid water and force the molecules apart into a gaseous state. Once transformed to a gas, there are fewer bonds to overcome, so the energy to make the molecules move (heat them up) is lower.

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Because steam is actually hotter than water AT FIRST, but after it gets into the atmosphere it lowers which is why it condensates (condenses) on a wall or glass or something. Because it lowers heat, it sticks.

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