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What affects the boiling point of water?Featured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was conducted to ascertain the various factors that determine the boiling point of water. The science project experiment involved comparing the effect of different amounts of water, different types of heating devices, different room temperatures and different heights above sea level, on the boiling point of water.

Hypothesis

Water will come to boil more quickly at lower temperatures at higher altitudes.

Scientific Terms

Pressure, Vapor, vacum, vaporization

Background

Boiling Point

A liquid will start to boil when the temperature of the liquid reaches a point where the pressure of the vapor from the liquid equals the pressure of the surrounding air. A liquid placed in vacuum will boil at lower temperatures than in normal conditions. Different liquids will have different boiling temperatures.

When water is boiled at higher altitudes above sea level, it will boil at lower temperatures. For example, water will boil at only 69°C on top of Mount Everest compared to 100°C at sea level. This is because, at higher altitudes, the air pressure is lower and therefore evaporation happens at lower temperatures.

Adding salt, sugar or other substances to water will usually increase its boiling temperature. This will be useful, for example, when boiling you need to boil water at higher altitudes and would like to attain a higher temperature to ensure that microorganisms in the water are killed.

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Complexity level:
6
Project cost ($):
20
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 1 day for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Always handle boiling water with extreme care to avoid getting burned. Adult assistance is required.