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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Water vapor condenses into a liquid after making contact with the surface of a cold bottle.
Condensation on a window during a rain shower.

Condensation is the change in the (aggregation) phase of matter from the gaseous phase (of an element/ chemical species) into liquid droplets or solid grains of the same element/ chemical species. Upon the slowing-down of the atoms/ molecules of the species, the overall attraction forces between these prevail and bring them together at distances comparable to their sizes.

Since the condensing atoms/ molecules suffer from reduced degrees of freedom and ranges of motion, their prior kinetic energy must be lost/ transferred to an adsorbing colder entity — either a center of condensation within the gas volume (colder molecules of the species, cold grains of dust etc.) or some contact surface. Condensation is initiated by the formation of atomic/ molecular clusters of that species within its gaseous volume — like rain drop or snow-flake formation within clouds — or at the contact between such gaseous phase and a (solvent) liquid or solid surface.

A few distinct reversibility scenarios emerge here with respect to the nature of the surface.

  • absorption into the surface of a liquid (either of the same species or one of its solvents) — is reversible as evaporation.[1].
  • adsorption (as dew droplets) onto solid surface at pressures and temperatures higher than the specie's triple point — also reversible as evaporation.
  • adsorption onto solid surface (as supplemental layers of solid) at pressures and temperatures lower than the specie's triple point — is reversible as sublimation.

Condensation commonly occurs when a vapor is cooled and/or compressed to its saturation limit when the molecular density in the gas phase reaches its maximal threshold. Vapor cooling and compressing equipment that collects condensed liquids is called "condenser".

Psychrometry measures the rates of condensation from and evaporation into the air moisture at various atmospheric pressures and temperatures. Water is the product of its vapor condensation — condensation is the process of such phase conversion.


Applications of condensation

Condensation is a crucial component of distillation, an important laboratory and industrial chemistry application.

Because condensation is a naturally occurring phenomenon, it can often be used to generate water in large quantities for human use. Many structures are made solely for the purpose of collecting water from condensation, such as air wells and fog fences. Such systems can often be used to retain soil moisture in areas where active desertification is occurring—so much so that some organizations educate people living in affected areas about water condensers to help them deal effectively with the situation.[2]

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Simple English

File:Condensation on water
Water vapor condenses into a liquid after making contact with the surface of a cold bottle.

Condensation is the process in which water vapour changes into a water droplet or ice crystal. Condensation is an important part of the water cycle. It is the opposite of evaporation.[1]



Condensation of water is when water turns from gas to a liquid or crystal shape. Any gas can condensate, usually at a low temperatures or high pressure. However, condensation can technically happen at any temperature, so long as the pressure of the condensing gas is more than the pressure of the liquid state of that gas (both at the same temperature).[2]

Process in nature

Condensation is vital in nature and is always the same as temperature and vapour pressure in nature. This means that if there is a lot of condensation, the temperature goes up. Alternatively, if there is hardly any condensation, there will be a temperature loss.

Process in industry

It is a process that can be useful to man. One use is in the creation of “new water” (drinkable water made from drinkable sources).


However, since there is a temperature gain when a lot of condensation happens, the heat needs to be "removed", which can be troublesome and expensive.

Other pages

Other websites


  1. International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. "condensation in atmospheric chemistry". Compendium of Chemical Terminology Internet edition.
  2. [ "condensation in atmospheric chemistry"]. 


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