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Vaporization (or vaporisation) of an element or compound is a
phase transition In chemistry, thermodynamics, and other related fields, a phase transition (or phase change) is the physical process of transition between one state of a medium and another. Commonly the term is used to refer to changes among the basic State of ...
from the
liquid A liquid is a nearly Compressibility, incompressible fluid that conforms to the shape of its container but retains a (nearly) constant volume independent of pressure. As such, it is one of State of matter#Four fundamental states, the four fund ...

liquid
phase to
vapor In physics, a vapor (American English) or vapour (British English and Canadian English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differences) is a substance in the gas phase at a temperature lower than its critic ...
. There are two types of vaporization:
evaporation Evaporation is a type of vaporization that occurs on the surface of a liquid as it changes into the gas phase. High concentration of the evaporating substance in the surrounding gas significantly slows down evaporation, such as when h ...

evaporation
and
boiling Boiling is the rapid vaporization of a liquid, which occurs when a liquid is heated to its boiling point, the temperature Temperature is a physical quantity that expresses quantitatively the perceptions of hotness and coldness. Temperatur ...
. Evaporation is a surface phenomenon, whereas boiling is a bulk phenomenon. Evaporation is a phase transition from the liquid phase to vapor (a state of substance below critical temperature) that occurs at temperatures below the
boiling temperature
boiling temperature
at a given pressure. Evaporation occurs ''on the surface''. Evaporation only occurs when the
partial pressure In a mixture of gases, each constituent gas has a partial pressure which is the notional pressure of that constituent gas as if it alone occupied the entire volume of the original mixture at the same temperature. The total pressure of an ideal gas ...
of
vapor In physics, a vapor (American English) or vapour (British English and Canadian English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differences) is a substance in the gas phase at a temperature lower than its critic ...
of a substance is less than the
equilibrium vapor pressure Vapor pressure (or vapour pressure in English-speaking countries other than the US; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differences) or equilibrium vapor pressure is defined as the pressure exerted by a v ...
. For example, due to constantly decreasing pressures, vapor pumped out of a solution will eventually leave behind a cryogenic liquid. Boiling is also a phase transition from the liquid phase to gas phase, but boiling is the formation of vapor as bubbles of vapor ''below the surface'' of the liquid. Boiling occurs when the equilibrium vapor pressure of the substance is greater than or equal to the
atmospheric pressure Atmospheric pressure, also known as barometric pressure (after the barometer), is the pressure within the atmosphere of Earth. The Standard atmosphere (unit), standard atmosphere (symbol: atm) is a unit of pressure defined as , which is equival ...
. The temperature at which boiling occurs is the boiling temperature, or boiling point. The boiling point varies with the pressure of the environment. Sublimation is a direct phase transition from the solid phase to the gas phase, skipping the intermediate liquid phase. Because it does not involve the liquid phase, it is not a form of vaporization. The term ''vaporization'' has also been used in a colloquial or hyperbolic way to refer to the physical destruction of an object that is exposed to intense heat or explosive force, where the object is actually blasted into small pieces rather than literally converted to gaseous form. Examples of this usage include the "vaporization" of the uninhabited Marshall Island of Elugelab in the 1952 ''
Ivy Mike Ivy Mike was the codename given to the first full-scale test of a thermonuclear device, in which part of the explosive yield comes from nuclear fusion. Ivy Mike was detonated on November 1, 1952, by the United States The United States ...
'' thermonuclear test. Many other examples can be found throughout the various
MythBusters
MythBusters
episodes that have involved explosives, chief among them being Cement Mix-Up, where they "vaporized" a cement truck with ANFO. At the moment of a large enough
meteor A meteoroid () is a small rocky or metallic body in outer space. Meteoroids are defined as objects significantly smaller than asteroids, ranging in size from grains to objects up to a meter wide. Objects smaller than this are classified as micr ...

meteor
or
comet A comet is an icy, small Solar System body that, when passing close to the Sun, warms and begins to release gases, a process that is called outgassing. This produces a visible atmosphere or Coma (cometary), coma, and sometimes also a Comet ta ...

comet
impact,
bolide A bolide is normally taken to mean an exceptionally bright meteor, but the term is subject to more than one definition, according to context. It may refer to any large Impact crater, crater-forming body, or to one that explodes in the atmosphere ...

bolide
detonation, a
nuclear fission Nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction, reaction in which the atomic nucleus, nucleus of an atom splits into two or more smaller atomic nucleus, nuclei. The fission process often produces gamma ray, gamma photons, and releases a very large ...
,
thermonuclear fusion Thermonuclear fusion is the process of atomic nuclei combining or “fusing” using high temperatures to drive them close enough together for this to become possible. There are two forms of thermonuclear fusion: ''uncontrolled'', in which the re ...
, or theoretical
antimatter In modern physics, antimatter is defined as matter composed of the antiparticles (or "partners") of the corresponding subatomic particle, particles in "ordinary" matter. Antimatter occurs in natural processes like cosmic ray collisions and som ...

antimatter
weapon detonation, a
flux Flux describes any effect that appears to pass or travel (whether it actually moves or not) through a surface or substance. Flux is a concept in applied mathematics and vector calculus which has many applications to physics. For transport ph ...

flux
of so many
gamma ray A gamma ray, also known as gamma radiation (symbol γ or \gamma), is a penetrating form of electromagnetic radiation arising from the radioactive decay of atomic nucleus, atomic nuclei. It consists of the shortest wavelength electromagnetic wav ...
,
x-ray An X-ray, or, much less commonly, X-radiation, is a penetrating form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation. Most X-rays have a wavelength ranging from 10 Picometre, picometers to 10 Nanometre, nanometers, corresponding to frequency, ...

x-ray
,
ultraviolet Ultraviolet (UV) is a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelength from 10 nanometer, nm (with a corresponding frequency around 30 Hertz, PHz) to 400 nm (750 Hertz, THz), shorter than that of visible light, but longer than ...

ultraviolet
, visual
light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation that can be visual perception, perceived by the human eye. Visible light is usually defined as having wavelengths in the range of 400–700 nanometres (nm), corresponding to frequency, fr ...

light
and
heat In thermodynamics, heat is defined as the form of energy crossing the boundary of a thermodynamic system by virtue of a temperature difference across the boundary. A thermodynamic system does not ''contain'' heat. Nevertheless, the term is al ...

heat
photon A photon () is an elementary particle that is a quantum of the electromagnetic field, including electromagnetic radiation such as light and radio waves, and the force carrier for the electromagnetic force. Photons are Massless particle, massless ...

photon
s strikes matter in a such brief amount of time (a great number of high-energy photons, many overlapping in the same physical space) that all molecules lose their atomic bonds and "fly apart". All atoms lose their electron shells and become positively charged ions, in turn emitting photons of a slightly lower energy than they had absorbed. All such matter becomes a gas of nuclei and electrons which rise into the air due to the extremely high temperature or bond to each other as they cool. The matter vaporized this way is immediately a plasma in a state of maximum
entropy Entropy is a scientific concept, as well as a measurable physical property, that is most commonly associated with a state of disorder, randomness, or uncertainty. The term and the concept are used in diverse fields, from classical thermodynam ...

entropy
and this state steadily reduces via the factor of passing
time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various me ...

time
due to natural processes in the
biosphere The biosphere (from Ancient Greek, Greek βίος ''bíos'' "life" and σφαῖρα ''sphaira'' "sphere"), also known as the ecosphere (from Greek οἶκος ''oîkos'' "environment" and σφαῖρα), is the worldwide sum of all ecosystems. ...

biosphere
and the effects of
physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical science is that depar ...

physics
at normal
temperature Temperature is a physical quantity that expresses quantitatively the perceptions of hotness and coldness. Temperature is measurement, measured with a thermometer. Thermometers are calibrated in various Conversion of units of temperature, temp ...

temperature
s and
pressure Pressure (symbol: ''p'' or ''P'') is the force applied perpendicular to the surface of an object per unit area over which that force is distributed. Gauge pressure (also spelled ''gage'' pressure)The preferred spelling varies by country and e ...

pressure
s. A similar process occurs during ultrashort pulse laser ablation, where the high
flux Flux describes any effect that appears to pass or travel (whether it actually moves or not) through a surface or substance. Flux is a concept in applied mathematics and vector calculus which has many applications to physics. For transport ph ...

flux
of incoming
electromagnetic radiation In physics, electromagnetic radiation (EMR) consists of waves of the electromagnetic field, electromagnetic (EM) field, which propagate through space and carry momentum and electromagnetic radiant energy. It includes radio waves, microwaves, inf ...

electromagnetic radiation
strips the target material's surface of electrons, leaving positively charged atoms which undergo a coulomb explosion.


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{{Authority control Physical chemistry Chemical processes