Difference Between Condensation and Evaporation: Definition and Applications

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

Difference Between Condensation and Evaporation: Both, condensation and evaporation processes involve the transformation of matter from one state to another, specifically from a liquid state to a gaseous state and vice versa. However, the mechanisms that drive these processes are fundamentally different. Understanding the difference between condensation and evaporation is essential in chemistry, physics, and Thermodynamics. It is crucial to distinguish between condensation and evaporation to understand their roles in various phenomena, such as the water cycle and industrial processes.

Difference Between Condensation and Evaporation PDF (Download GATE Notes)

One of the main differences between condensation and evaporation is the direction of the phase change. Condensation involves the transformation of a gas or vapour into a liquid, while evaporation is the opposite process, where a liquid transforms into a gas or vapour. This distinction is significant because it determines the conditions under which each process occurs. For instance, condensation usually takes place when a gas or vapour comes into contact with a surface that is cooler than its dew point, causing it to lose energy and condense into a liquid. On the other hand, evaporation occurs when a liquid gains enough energy to overcome the intermolecular forces that hold it together and becomes a gas or vapour.

Difference Between Condensation and Evaporation

Condensation and evaporation are opposite processes in the water cycle, where water changes between its liquid and gaseous states. Condensation is the process of gas turning into a liquid when the gas temperature decreases, and it becomes saturated, resulting in the formation of tiny droplets on surfaces.

Key Differences Between Condensation and Evaporation

Evaporation is the process of a liquid changing into a gas by gaining heat and energy, causing the molecules to become more energetic and escape into the air as vapour. In summary, condensation is the process of a gas becoming a liquid, while evaporation is the process of a liquid becoming a gas.

Differentiate Between Evaporation and Condensation
Evaporation Condensation
Evaporation is the process by which water transforms into a vapour. Condensation is the inverse process that converts water vapour to small droplets of water.
Before a liquid reaches its boiling point, it evaporates. Condensation is a phase transition that occurs regardless of temperature.
When a liquid is heated or pressure is reduced, the forces of attraction between molecules are reduced. The liquid then evaporates and turns into a gas. When a gas cools or pressure rises, the forces of attraction between molecules become very strong. The gas condenses into a liquid or perhaps a solid.
Evaporation can occur on any surface, at any time, and in any location. When the air is dry, hot, and windy, evaporation occurs frequently. When the air temperature is reduced below saturation, condensation occurs on salt, hygroscopic nuclei-pollen grains, carbon particles, and so on.
Energy is consumed during the process of evaporation. Energy is released during the condensation process.

Evaporation and Condensation

Evaporation is a physical process where a liquid changes into a gas by absorbing heat and energy. This process occurs when the temperature of the liquid increases and its molecules gain energy, causing them to escape into the air as a vapour. Condensation is a physical process where a gas turns into a liquid due to a decrease in temperature and an increase in pressure, causing the gas to become saturated and form tiny droplets on a surface.


The condensation process is a critical part of the water cycle and helps regulate the temperature and moisture levels of the Earth’s atmosphere. Condensation is commonly observed in everyday life, such as when water droplets form outside a cold glass or on a surface in a humid environment. Condensation has several practical applications, including in the production of dew, fog, and cloud formation and in the design of refrigeration systems and power plants.


Evaporation is an important part of the water cycle, as it helps regulate the amount of moisture in the atmosphere and contributes to cloud formation. Evaporation is a common phenomenon observed in everyday life, such as when water evaporates from the surface of a puddle or when sweat evaporates from the skin. Evaporation also has several practical applications, including in the production of distilled water, cooling systems, and dehumidifiers.

Applications of Evaporation and Condensation

Condensation, the process by which a gas or vapour transforms into a liquid or solid state, has numerous applications in various fields. From industrial processes to everyday activities, condensation plays a vital role in many different applications, such as:

  • Dew formation: Dew is formed by condensing water vapour onto surfaces at night.
  • Cloud formation: Clouds are formed by condensing water vapour in the atmosphere.
  • Refrigeration systems: Condensation is used in refrigeration systems to remove heat from the interior of a refrigeration unit.
  • Power plants: In power plants, condensation is used to increase the efficiency of steam turbines.
  • Dew point measurement: Condensation is used to measure the dew point of a gas, which is an important parameter in atmospheric studies.

Evaporation can be used to concentrate solutions, separate mixtures, and reduce the volume of liquid waste.

  1. Distilled water production: Evaporation is used to purify water by removing impurities and minerals.
  2. Cooling systems: Evaporation is used in cooling systems to remove heat from a surface and cool it down.
  3. Dehumidifiers: Evaporation is used to remove excess moisture from the air.
  4. Sweat evaporation: Evaporation is used by the body to regulate temperature by removing excess heat through sweat.
  5. Cleaning and drying: Evaporation is used in various cleaning and drying processes to remove moisture from surfaces.

Limitations of Evaporation and Condensation

Condensation is a common physical process in which a gas or vapour turns into a liquid state. While it has practical applications in various fields, such as power generation and materials science, there are also limitations to condensation that should be considered.

  1. Temperature and pressure sensitivity: Condensation is highly sensitive to temperature and pressure changes, which can impact the rate and efficiency of the process.
  2. Formation of water droplets: Condensation can lead to the formation of water droplets on surfaces, which can cause damage to delicate equipment or objects.
  3. Reliance on humidity levels: The efficiency of condensation depends on the humidity levels in the atmosphere, which can vary greatly depending on the location and time of year.

Evaporation is a common process that occurs when a liquid turns into a gas, but it has several limitations. These limitations can impact its effectiveness as a method for separating or purifying substances, as well as its usefulness in various industrial and environmental applications.

  1. Time-consuming process: Evaporation can be slow and time-consuming, especially when evaporating large volumes of liquid.
  2. Energy requirements: Evaporation requires a significant amount of heat and energy, which can be expensive and difficult to obtain.
  3. Limited by temperature: Evaporation is limited by temperature as the rate of evaporation increases with temperature.
  4. Limited by surface area: The rate of evaporation is also limited by the surface area of the liquid, as a larger surface area results in a higher evaporation rate.


We can conclude that vast differences exist between Evaporation and Condensation. Condensation is the process by which a gas turns into a liquid, while evaporation is the process by which a liquid turns into a gas. Condensation releases heat, while evaporation absorbs heat. Additionally, condensation usually occurs at colder temperatures, while evaporation occurs at higher temperatures.

Important GATE Notes
Free and Forced Vibration Simple Harmonic Motion
Testing of Materials Multiplexing
First Law of Thermodynamics Helical Gear
Triangle Law of Forces Connecting Rod
Types of Support Strength of Materials
Mechanical Energy Constant Velocity

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