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ALL MOLECULAR GRAPHICS: STEAM: water molecules (H2O) boiling off liquid water

water molecules entering the gas phase above boiling water
STEAM: water molecules are shown above boiling water. Water boils at 100oC. The water molecules rapidly gain energy and the more energetic ones leave the liquid phase and enter the gas phase. This is what might happen above a saucepan of boiling water, for example. As steam is produced, it exerts a gas pressure and this is what is harnessed to drive steam engines and steam turbines. Much of the industrial revolution was powered by steam in factories, trains and steamships. Steam power is also used in nuclear energy generation. The nuclear reaction generates huge amounts of heat and this is used to boil water. The resulting steam drives turbines to produce electricity. Steam is used domestically for steam cleaning, ironing and cooking.

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