Why is steam hotter than boiling water?


Quick Answer

Steam occurs when water goes above 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hotter than water when it is at its stable point. While water boils at 212 F, steam is at a much higher temperature as water turns to vapor.

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Full Answer

While it is possible for water to remain in a liquid form after it has reached 212 F, it becomes an unstable liquid. The instability of the liquid can make it turn into a vapor more quickly and can produce steam. Steam that is rising from a pot of boiling water is the result of water that has gone past the boiling temperature and has turned into vapor. As a result, burns from steam that is coming from a pot of boiling water because it is at a higher temperature than the water itself.

As water gets hotter or colder and reaches different temperature points, it is able to change composition. Water can be a solid, liquid or vapor. When water is in between the freezing temperature of 32 degrees and the boiling temperature of 212 degrees, it is always in liquid form. Pure water will almost always freeze when it reaches freezing point but the reverse is not always true of boiling water.

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