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Chemical Engineering Exchange

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Why does water boil at a lower temperature on the hills than on the plains?

Water boils at a lower temperature at higher altitudes because the atmospheric pressure is lower.

At sea level, the atmospheric pressure is about 1013 millibars and the boiling point of water is 100°C (212°F). However, as you move higher in elevation, the atmospheric pressure decreases. This means that at a higher altitude, the boiling point of water is lower.

The boiling point of water decreases about 0.5°C for every 300 meters of altitude gain. This is due to the decrease in atmospheric pressure. The atmospheric pressure at an elevation of 3,000 meters is about 68% of that at sea level. At this elevation, the boiling point of water is around 93°C (199.4°F).

This decrease in boiling point can have practical implications for cooking at high elevations. When boiling water at high altitude, it will take longer to cook food and it may not cook as evenly. Therefore, it's important to adjust cooking times and methods when cooking at high elevations. Another effect of this decrease in boiling point is that it makes it easier for water to reach its boiling point, which can increase the risk of water boiling over. This can be dangerous when using a stove or campfire. For this reason, it's important to be aware of the lower boiling point of water at high altitudes and take necessary precautions.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Rohan Ohol
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