Evaporation of substances occurs when the molecules in a liquid state absorb enough heat energy to vaporize into a gas. The heat energy, which causes the molecules to move, is known as kinetic energy. During this change, the water molecules remain the same, except that they are moving at a faster speed, and their energy heightens as a result of the movement. However, this entire evaporation process can be altered or controlled by various factors including temperature, exposed surface, wind, and humidity among others.
Temperature affects the rate of evaporation in that, the higher the temperature is set, the higher the rate of evaporation. The reason for this is because, when the temperature of the water is increased through heating or simply shining a powerful spotlight at it, the water molecules are able to gain more energy that facilitates faster movements, making them to escape much faster. In case the energy is removed by lowering the temperature, the gas condenses back into the liquid, thus cutting down the rate of evaporation.
If water evaporates in an air-tight container, the space above the water is filled with more and more water vapor. When the air is concentrated with lots of water vapor, it means that there is a high humidity. Humidity can be defined as the amount of water vapor in the air. At the time that it is high, it is more difficult for water to escape through the process of evaporation. What happens is that it is like the air is full and cannot be able to hold more water vapor. Thus, there will be a slower rate of evaporation. If the space above the water is completely filled with water vapor, evaporation is balanced through the process of condensation.
In explaining how wind affects the rate of evaporation, it is important to note that when evaporation occurs, the water vapor gathers above the water surface. In the event that there is wind, the water vapor is removed as soon as it is formed. As a result of this, more space for water molecules to escape into the air is created. The process can be simply summed up by stating that the stronger the wind, the higher the rate of evaporation.
The exposed surface area of the container used in carrying out an experiment also can affect the rate of evaporation. The whole process can be summed up that, the larger the surface area exposed, the higher the rate of evaporation. With a larger surface area exposed, more heat and wind is able to come into contact with the water molecules, thereby increasing the evaporation rate. A good example that can illustrate this better is the reason why it is always advisable that people hang their clothes out to dry instead of hanging them inside enclosures. Another example is that a wet cloth that is spread out dries much faster compared to one that is folded.
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