Water at 100°C loses heat to the skin as it is cooled to skin temperature.
Just about everyone at one time or another has been burned by hot water or steam. This problem compares the heat input to your skin from steam as opposed to hot water at the same temperature.
Assume that water and steam, initially at 100°C, are cooled down to skin temperature, 34°C, when they come in contact with your skin. Assume that the steam condenses extremely fast. We will further assume a constant specific heat capacity c=4190J/(kg•K) for both liquid water and steam.
Under these conditions, which of the following statements is true?
a. Steam burns the skin worse than hot water because the thermal conductivity of steam is much higher than that of liquid water.
b. Steam burns the skin worse than hot water because the latent heat of vaporization is released as well.
c. Hot water burns the skin worse than steam because the thermal conductivity of hot water is much higher than that of steam.
d. Hot water and steam both burn skin about equally badly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?
Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Changes in Phase & Latent Heat concept. You can view video lessons to learn Changes in Phase & Latent Heat. Or if you need more Changes in Phase & Latent Heat practice, you can also practice Changes in Phase & Latent Heat practice problems.