Boiling Water in Space

Posted on January 3, 2007  Comments (2)

Bizarre Boiling, NASA:

The next time you’re watching a pot of water boil, perhaps for coffee or a cup of soup, pause for a moment and consider: what would this look like in space? Would the turbulent bubbles rise or fall? And how big would they be? Would the liquid stay in the pan at all?

Until a few years ago, nobody knew. Indeed, physicists have trouble understanding the complex behavior of boiling fluids here on Earth. Perhaps boiling in space would prove even more baffling…. It’s an important question because boiling happens not only in coffee pots, but also in power plants and spacecraft cooling systems. Engineers need to know how boiling works.

I had trouble seeing what was happening in the first video. Try this video first.

Because a smaller volume of water is being heated, it comes to a boil much more quickly. As bubbles of vapor form, though, they don’t shoot to the surface — they coalesce into a giant bubble that wobbles around within the liquid.

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2 Responses to “Boiling Water in Space”

  1. alzack
    January 8th, 2007 @ 10:48 pm

    I never ever have thought about this….It should be a very interesting process to study and observe…What other things can do in outer space …There a tonnes of thing to be studied and explored in the outer space….

  2. CuriousCat: Microorganisms on Spaceships
    May 12th, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

    “The dust mite was found floating in a globule of water onboard Mir. Other microorganisms collected include protozoa and amoeba…”

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