What is the Boiling Point of Liquids?

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The boiling point of a liquid is the temperature at which its saturated vapor pressure equals atmospheric pressure. The liquid transforms into a gas at this point, and its vapor forms bubbles that rise out of the liquid. This process is the basis of the Celsius scale (which was based on ice water’s melting and boiling points), and it also allows us to separate materials by their boiling points.

Many factors influence the normal boiling point of a substance, with the most important factor being its molecular structure and intermolecular attractions. Liquids with weaker intermolecular bonds boil at lower temperatures. For example, ethanol has weaker hydrogen bonds than butane, and thus its boiling point is lower.

Another factor that influences the boiling point is the presence of dissolved impurities, or solutes. Solutes are compounds of a different chemical type from the solvent that increase or decrease the volatility of the solvent in proportion to their concentration.

Lastly, the boiling point of a liquid can vary depending on its elevation. This is because the air pressure at higher elevations is less dense than at sea level.

The boiling point of a liquid can be determined experimentally by using a measured volume of the substance, a container to heat it in, a thermometer to measure the temperature, a barometer to monitor the air pressure, and a GPS to determine the elevation above sea level. Then, the temperature of the liquid is slowly increased until it reaches its boiling point.