What produces more severe burns, boiling water or steam?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

As steam has the heat energy of boiling water and latent heat of vaporization, it causes severe burns on the skin. Steam causes more severe burn than water:

  • Water is in a gaseous state when it is steam.
  • Liquid water is in this state.
  • Water lacks the warmth and liveliness of steam.
  • It will burn more intensely than boiling water because of the dormant warmth of vaporisation.
  • Both the latent heat of vaporization and the heat energy of boiling water are present in steam.
  • Latent heat of vaporisation is the term used to describe the amount of heat energy needed to convert a substance from a liquid to a vapor.
  • Vapor’s heat energy and latent heat produce serious skin burns.

Severe Burns produced by Steam

The gaseous condition of the water is known as water vapor (sometimes known as steam, especially when temperatures are above 100oC). Evaporation and boiling are two separate methods that liquid water can use to transition into the gaseous phase. In the former, water molecules from the surface escape into the atmosphere, whereas in the latter, thermal energy is transferred to the water molecules in the bulk to enable a phase shift.

Condensation is the reaction to this process (when water vapor reverts to the liquid state). Remember that evaporation, boiling, and condensation are all examples of physical transformations. They don’t change the water’s chemical composition.

Latent Heat

The heat or energy that is absorbed or released during a substance’s phase change is known as latent heat. It might go from a solid to a liquid or from a liquid to a gas, or vice versa. Enthalpy, a characteristic of heat, is connected to latent heat.


What produces more severe burns, boiling water or steam?

Steam burns the skin severely because it has the same heat energy as boiling water and latent heat from evaporation. Water vapor is the gaseous condition of the water. The two methods that water undergoes in its gaseous phase are boiling and evaporation.

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