Difference Between Boiling and Evaporation

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: July 26, 2023


Difference Between Boiling and Evaporation

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Boiling and Evaporation are processes by which liquids change to gaseous state. Let us now understand the difference between the two.

Evaporation vs Boiling

Evaporation occurs when the liquid changes into a gas at a temperature below boiling point. Evaporation takes place on the surface of the liquid unlike boiling, which is carried out throughout the liquid. It also occurs at room temperature.

Boiling, on the other hand, is a more rapid and intense process compared to evaporation. It occurs when a liquid is heated to its boiling point, resulting in the formation of vapour bubbles throughout the liquid volume. Boiling requires the input of heat energy to overcome the intermolecular forces within the liquid.

One notable difference between boiling and evaporation lies in the uniformity of the process. Boiling occurs evenly throughout the liquid volume, with bubbles forming and rising from multiple points, while evaporation only takes place at the liquid’s surface. Furthermore, boiling is an Instantaneous process that requires the liquid to reach a specific temperature, whereas evaporation can occur over a more extended period at any temperature below boiling.

Difference Between Evaporation And Boiling In Tabular Form

Parameter of ComparisonEvaporationBoiling
Definition A liquid transforms into a gas at a temperature below its boiling point.A liquid is heated to its boiling point, resulting in the formation of vapor bubbles throughout the liquid volume.
OccursOnly at the surfaceThrough out the volume
TemperatureOccurs below boiling pointOccurs at boiling point
Formation of bubblesBubbles donot formBubbles are formed
Energy requiredEnergy supplies by atmosphere or surroundingsExternal source of energy
Rate of processSlow processRapid process

What is Evaporation?

Evaporation is a phenomenon that occurs when higher-energy molecules escape from the surface of a liquid and transition into the gas phase. The process is driven by energy transfer that occurs at the surface of the liquid, where molecules constantly collide and exhibit a range of kinetic energies. As molecules with sufficient energy break free from the surface, the average kinetic energy of the remaining liquid decreases, leading to a drop in temperature.

The rate of evaporation Is influenced by several factors. Firstly, temperature plays a significant role, as higher temperatures provide more energy to the liquid molecules, increasing their kinetic energy and evaporation rate. Secondly, the surface area of the liquid exposed to the surrounding environment affects the evaporation rate. Larger surface areas allow for more interaction between the liquid molecules and the environment, expediting the evaporation process. High air humidity levels impact evaporation by reducing the rate as it decreases the concentration gradient between the liquid and the atmosphere.

Various factors influence the rate of evaporation, with temperature being one of the most significant.

Higher temperatures increase the average kinetic energy of the liquid molecules, allowing more molecules to transition into the gas phase and resulting in faster evaporation rates. Surface area also plays a crucial role, as larger surface areas provide more opportunities for the liquid molecules to interact with the atmosphere. Liquids with larger surface areas evaporate more quickly than those in narrow or deep vessels.

Humidity, or the amount of water vapour present in the atmosphere, is another critical factor affecting evaporation. When the air is already saturated with moisture, it becomes more difficult for additional water molecules to evaporate from the liquid surface, leading to a reduction in the evaporation rate.

Air movement plays a crucial role in the process of evaporation. When the wind blows across the surface of a liquid, it carries away water vapour molecules, creating a lower concentration of water vapour near the liquid. This concentration gradient facilitates faster evaporation by promoting the continuous replenishment of the surrounding air with drier air.

Evaporation is a vital component of the water cycle, driving the process of water vapour rising from the Earth’s surface into the atmosphere, leading to cloud formation and precipitation. The rate of evaporation depends on the type of liquid, with substances like alcohol evaporating more quickly than those with stronger intermolecular forces like water. Evaporation is an endothermic process, producing a cooling effect as higher-energy molecules leave the liquid, taking away heat energy.

In both humans and plants, evaporation is a natural cooling mechanism. Sweating and transpiration allow for heat dissipation through the evaporation of moisture from the skin or leaves, respectively. Finally, impurities in a liquid can affect the rate of evaporation, increasing its boiling point and decreasing its vapour pressure, resulting in a slower evaporation rate.

In the water cycle, evaporation is a crucial process that occurs when the sun’s heat warms the surface of the water. This causes water molecules to move faster until they escape as a gas. Once evaporated, a water vapour molecule spends around ten days in the air. As it rises higher in the atmosphere, it cools down and condenses back into liquid water. These water droplets eventually gather to form clouds and precipitation.

The evaporation that occurs In oceans plays a vital role in producing fresh water. With more than 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface covered by oceans, they are the primary source of water in the atmosphere. When the water evaporates, it leaves the salt behind. The precipitation from these clouds fills lakes, rivers, and streams with fresh water.


Evaporation is also widely used in various industrial applications such as printing and coating processes, salt recovery from solutions, and drying materials like lumber, paper, cloth, and chemicals. In many laboratory analyses, the use of evaporation to dry or concentrate samples is a common preparatory step. Rotary evaporators and centrifugal evaporators are some of the systems used for this purpose.

Evaporation is practically applied in several fields. It plays a vital role in the water cycle, where liquid bodies on the Earth’s surface evaporate into the atmosphere, condensing to form clouds and precipitation. Evaporation is also widely utilized in industries such as food processing, where it aids in preserving food products by removing moisture content.

What is Boiling?

Boiling is a process that occurs when a liquid is heated to its boiling point, resulting in the formation of vapour bubbles throughout the liquid volume. It is a more rapid and Intense process compared to evaporation. To achieve boiling, heat energy must be supplied to overcome the intermolecular forces within the liquid.

When heat is applied to the liquid, its molecules absorb energy, causing them to move faster and collide with greater force. As the temperature continues to increase, the collisions become so energetic that the liquid molecules transform into gas-phase molecules, creating vapour bubbles. These bubbles rise to the liquid’s surface and escape into the atmosphere, resulting in visible signs of boiling.

The boiling point of a substance is a unique characteristic property influenced by factors such as atmospheric pressure and altitude. It is determined by the temperature at which its vapour pressure equals the external pressure applied.


Boiling plays a significant role in everyday life, especially in the culinary industry. By boiling water or other liquids, heat is transferred more efficiently, allowing for the effective cooking of food. Boiling also serves as a sterilization method, ensuring the elimination of harmful bacteria and microorganisms present in water or medical equipment.

Boiling is a phase transition process that occurs when a liquid reaches its boiling point. This is different from evaporation which happens only at the surface of the liquid. The process of boiling happens throughout the entire liquid volume, leading to the creation of vapour bubbles. To change the liquid into a gas, the process of boiling requires the input of heat energy to overcome the intermolecular forces within the liquid.

Heat causes the molecules in the liquid to gain kinetic energy, making them move faster and collide more forcefully. When the temperature reaches the boiling point, the molecules acquire enough energy to break free from the liquid’s attractive forces. This results in the formation of vapour bubbles within the liquid.

Four factors determine the boiling point of a liquid:

  1. Atmospheric Pressure: The pressure exerted by the atmosphere plays a significant role in determining the boiling point of a liquid. At higher altitudes where atmospheric pressure is lower, the boiling point of a liquid decreases. Conversely, at higher pressures, such as in a pressure cooker, the boiling point is elevated.
  2. Temperature: Boiling occurs when the temperature of a liquid reaches its boiling point. Different liquids have varying boiling points, and increasing the temperature beyond the boiling point results in more vigorous boiling.
  3. When it comes to boiling liquids, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, the intensity of the heating source plays a crucial role in the rate of boiling. For instance, a high-powered stove burner can transfer heat energy more rapidly, resulting in faster boiling.
  4. Another important factor is the shape and size of the vessel containing the liquid. A narrow and tall container tends to concentrate the heat at the bottom, leading to localized boiling, while a wide vessel facilitates more uniform boiling.

It is important to understand the two main types of boiling: nucleate boiling and critical heat flux boiling.

Nucleate boiling involves small bubbles of vapour forming at discrete points, while critical heat flux boiling occurs when the boiling surface is heated above a certain critical temperature, causing a film of vapour to form on the surface. Transition boiling is an unstable form of boiling that combines elements of both types. It is worth noting that the boiling point of water is 100°C or 212°F, but this can vary at higher altitudes due to decreased atmospheric pressure.

In terms of heat flux, the lowest level seen in boiling is only sufficient to cause natural convection, where warmer fluid rises due to its slightly higher density. This occurs only when the superheat Is very low, meaning that the hot surface near the fluid is nearly the same temperature as the boiling point.

Critical heat flux, on the other hand, describes the thermal limit of a phenomenon where a phase change occurs during heating, such as bubbles forming on a metal surface used to heat water. This sudden decrease in heat transfer efficiency causes localized overheating of the heating surface.

Finally, film boiling occurs when a surface heating the liquid is significantly hotter than the liquid, resulting in a thin layer

Facts on Boiling

  • Boiling serves as a highly efficient method of transferring heat. This is because boiling a liquid enables heat energy to be transferred more rapidly in comparison to conduction or convection. Due to this property, boiling serves as an effective cooking technique and a prevalent method in several industrial processes.
  • The boiling point of a substance serves as a distinct characteristic property. For instance, water boils at 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit) at standard atmospheric pressure. Nevertheless, the boiling point can be modified by either altering the pressure or introducing impurities to the liquid.
  • Boiling water offers a purification mechanism by eliminating harmful microorganisms. The heat energy eradicates most pathogens, rendering the water safe for consumption.
  • Superheating is a phenomenon that occurs when a liquid is heated above its boiling point without actually boiling. This can happen if the liquid is extremely pure or if it is heated in a smooth container. When disturbed or when impurities are introduced, the superheated liquid can rapidly boil, potentially causing sudden and violent eruptions.
  • Boiling is not limited to liquids like water. It can also occur in certain solids, such as dry ice (solid carbon dioxide), which sublimes directly into a gas without passing through a liquid phase.

Main Difference Between Evaporation And Boiling in Points

  • Boiling is a physical process that takes place when the temperature of a liquid exceeds the boiling point of the substance. On the other hand, evaporation can occur at any temperature as long as the substance remains in its liquid state. It is important to note that evaporation occurs at a slower rate in comparison to boiling since it takes place at room temperature.
  • During boiling, bubbles are formed on the heated liquid due to the complex physical process involved. However, there is no such formation of bubbles during evaporation, and cavitation and acoustic effect are also absent.
  • Additionally, boiling involves an increase in particle motion, which separates them from each other. In contrast, the movement of particles during evaporation is not uniform. Some particles move at a slower speed while others move at a higher speed.
  • Boiling occurs uniformly throughout the liquid, while evaporation only takes place at the surface.
  • Various factors affect the process of evaporation, such as temperature, surface area, humidity, and air movement. However, atmospheric pressure, temperature, heating source, and vessel shape and size are some of the factors influencing boiling.
  • The boiling point of a substance is a defining feature that can be affected by both purity and pressure. Similarly, evaporation is a process that can be influenced by the properties of the liquid and the environment In which it occurs. It’s crucial to keep these factors in mind when working with substances and liquids to ensure accurate and reliable results.


In summary, boiling and evaporation are two distinct physical processes that occur under different conditions. Understanding the differences between the two can help in various fields that require knowledge of these processes. Evaporation is a naturally occurring process where a liquid substance transforms into a gaseous state. Knowing the mechanisms and factors that influence evaporation is essential to understand its significance in different contexts, including the water cycle and everyday experiences like cooling and drying. Similarly, boiling is a dynamic process that involves the rapid transformation of a liquid into a gas through the creation of vapour bubbles. Understanding the mechanisms and factors influencing boiling is crucial to gain insights into its practical applications, including cooking and heat transfer. As a professional, it’s important to have a clear understanding of these concepts to produce high-quality content that meets the requirements of various industries and niches.


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"Difference Between Boiling and Evaporation." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 19 Jul. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-boiling-and-evaporation-2>.

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