Condensation is the change of the physical state of matter from a gaseous form into liquid form. When the transition of matter happens from gaseous to solid directly, it is known as deposition. Condensation occurs when a vapor is cooled or compressed to its dew point. Water vapor that naturally condenses on cold surfaces into liquid is called dew. Water vapor will only condense on another surface when the temperature of the surface is cooler than the temperature of the water vapor.
Water molecules carry a little heat that in order to condense, has to transfer its kinetic energy to the atmosphere. When water vapor condenses into liquid water, hydrogen forms and releases latent heat. This increases the sensible heat and, in turn, causes the temperature of the air to rise. The sensible heat is removed from the air and the temperature drops when evaporation occurs. This process continues, causing air temperature to rise and fall again as water vapor forms and condenses.
Condensation is an important part of distillation, and an important application in laboratory and industrial chemical experiments and studies. The condensed vapor is known as a condensate, and the equipment used for condensation is known as a condenser. Condensation is often utilized to generate large quantities of water for human usage. Many structures are made solely for the purpose of collecting water formed by condensation. Some of these structures include fog fences, air wells and dew ponds. Sometimes these manmade structures and systems can be used to retain soil moisture in arid areas where desertification occurs.
Psychrometry is a science related to condensation pertaining to the study of thermodynamic properties of moisture in air and the changes of conditions of this moisture.
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