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Q & A: water cooling in a vacuum

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
I was wondering if water is released in a vacuum such as out in space and the temperature of the water changes where does the energy absorbed or lost come from or go?
- Damian (age 18)
Vidor, Tx
A:
It takes energy to pull a water molecule out from the liquid or solid. So the initial cooling takes place by increasing the potential energy of the molecules as they evaporate, leaving less energy for thermal jiggles. Once the gas forms, further cooling can occur as the molecules radiate electromagnetic energy.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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