46. Factors affecting the rate of condensation


Factors affecting the rate of condensation

When a gas condenses to form a liquid, its particles are cooled down which means that they lose kinetic energy. The attractive forces between the particles bring them closer together so that they form liquid bonds. The heat energy that these gas particles lose when they become a liquid is given to the surface that they have bumped into, e.g. a cold glass window.

This is why water forms on the inside of a cold window when you breathe on it - your breath contains water vapour which condenses on the cold glass. So what are two factors can increase the rate of condensation - i.e. how can we get more water vapour gas to condense each second?

The first factor is the temperature of the gas in the first place. Cool water vapour particles have a smaller amount of energy to lose compared to hotter vapour. It is therefore easier for this cooler vapour to lose its heat energy and condense to form a liquid.

The second factor is how much gas - e.g. water vapour - there is in the air. The higher the concentration of water vapour, the more gas particles will collide per second with the cold glass, forming liquid particles. So very humid conditions can lead to a higher rate of condensation.

GCSE Physics Keywords: Condensation, Temperature, Collisions, Concentration, Humidity, Heat energy transfer

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