Previous in Forum: 10 Seconds of Arc   Next in Forum: 5/8 Threaded Rod in Compression
Close
Close
Close
11 comments
Commentator

Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 88
Good Answers: 4

Physics Question in Space

02/13/2021 11:21 PM

If you had an open container of water in a space vessel that was shielded from the sun, when the vessel is opened to the space environment ‘vacuum’, will the water freeze or evaporate? Then what occurs if the container is facing the sun? Will the water freeze from the outside-in or will it respond differently? If or when the water evaporates what happens to the gaseous matter? If the gaseous matter is shielded from the sun again will it return to droplets or ice?

Login to Reply
Interested in this discussion?
You can "subscribe" to this discussion to be notified of new comments.
Click on the Subscribe menu at the top of the page.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 29823
Good Answers: 1665
#1

Re: Physics question in space

02/14/2021 1:19 AM

Water in a vacuum will boil away into vapor, so in the Sun or in the shade, it's going to boil away...If it was in the shade it could condense into tiny ice droplets, and then slowly evaporate...

https://www.thoughtco.com/glass-water-freeze-boil-in-space-607884

__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Login to Reply
2
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 14850
Good Answers: 913
#2

Re: Physics Question in Space

02/14/2021 8:39 AM

It will both evaporate and freeze. What does freeze can also sublimate. The primary critical unknown here is the initial temperature of the liquid when it is exposed to the low pressure of space. From here is a phase diagram for water.

What many people forget in pondering this scenario is that the evaporation process that some of the water will clearly experience still cools the remaining water. Thus some of the water will travel vertically down into the water vapor region, other parts will travel horizontally toward the ice region. In fact into the vacuum of space itself ice crystals can be seen to form. This is what happens in this video where boiling water turns into snow.

The other critical unknown is the orifice between liquid water and vacuum. The chilling process might cause ice to form thus blocking the orifice closed and stopping the process. Thawing and refreezing, just like an icicle, can happen at the orifice until either all liquid is slowly vented or freezing happens inside the container.

__________________
"Don't disturb my circles." translation of Archimedes last words
Login to Reply Good Answer (Score 2)
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: About 4000 miles from the center of the earth (+/-100 mi)
Posts: 8725
Good Answers: 994
#4
In reply to #2

Re: Physics Question in Space

02/14/2021 5:33 PM

Your phase diagram says it all, below .006 atmospheres, there is no liquid, just ice and water vapor, depending on the temperature.

Login to Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 14850
Good Answers: 913
#5
In reply to #4

Re: Physics Question in Space

02/14/2021 5:41 PM

Yes, that's why I posted it. However, one must remember that the diagram is for the steady states of water. The transition to a steady state can be fast but it is not instantaneous. It takes that mythical reality of time to complete.

__________________
"Don't disturb my circles." translation of Archimedes last words
Login to Reply
2
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: 44.56024"N 15.307971E
Posts: 6004
Good Answers: 240
#3

Re: Physics Question in Space

02/14/2021 1:30 PM

Water in a vacuum will evaporate,and freeze.Some of the water will boil,some will evaporate and some will freeze.It will initially exist in all 3 states:a liquid,a gas and,a solid.As the evaporation continues,the remaining water will freeze and evaporation will continue at a much slower rate by sublimation,which will skip the solid stage(ice) and go straight to a gas.

That is why frozen water is present on the moon in deep craters,where the sunlight never hits.It is why comets have lots of ice,and the tails of them are visible due to the water vapor and other material that is released due to melting of the ice or sublimation from the energy of the sun.

When pulling a vacuum on a large A/C systems,sometimes moisture in the system will freeze,and one must wait for it to evaporate before continuing.

__________________
"A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child." "Ignorance does not consist of what a person does not know,but of things he knows that just aint so"
Login to Reply Good Answer (Score 2)
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Indeterminate Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: In the bothy, 7 chains down the line from Dodman's Lane level crossing, in the nation formerly known as Great Britain. Kettle's on.
Posts: 29931
Good Answers: 808
#6

Re: Physics Question in Space

02/15/2021 2:30 AM

<...when the vessel is opened to the space environment ‘vacuum’, will the water freeze or evaporate?...>

Both of those things, because its phase diagram above states that water cannot exist as a liquid below 0.006 atmosphere pressure.

Whooosh! There it was, gone.

__________________
"Did you get my e-mail?" - "The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place" - George Bernard Shaw, 1856
Login to Reply
Anonymous Poster #1
#7

Re: Physics Question in Space

02/15/2021 5:04 AM

In space, there is no wayer vapor pressure in equilibrium with the liquid and/or solid phases. In the dark, the water evaporates, boiling at the existing instantaneous temperature, until freezing point is reached.freezing may occur suddenly, regulated by the rate of loss of heat of fusion. From the point that the liquid phase has vanished, sublimation continues.

In the light of the sun, the rate of solar absorbance may well prevent the freezing point to be reached quickly, but unless something in contact with the water is dark, water might yet freeze, etc.

The time line result is complete loss of all water into the surroundings with diffusion of vapor being driving force at the end.

Login to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: 44.56024"N 15.307971E
Posts: 6004
Good Answers: 240
#11
In reply to #7

Re: Physics Question in Space

06/25/2021 6:24 AM

I remember reading about a personal contest between two engineers to develop the fastest way to cool beer.

Dry ice or salt could not be used,only water and/or ice.

No mechanical or electrical direct refrigeration equipment allowed.

The winner used an insulated container,with ice surrounding the beer,and a small orifice at the bottom of the container that put compressed air into the container.

It utilized all three phases of water to rapidly cool the beer.

VERY fast cooling

I am certain someone will find an exception to the very loosely stated conditions,but the intent was clear enough for the engineers.

__________________
"A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child." "Ignorance does not consist of what a person does not know,but of things he knows that just aint so"
Login to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1457
Good Answers: 133
#8

Re: Physics Question in Space

02/16/2021 6:56 AM

It seems like most or all of the answers push toward vapor as what happens in the end. Redfred's diagram (posting #2) seems to indicate that if the water is shaded and isolated from illuminated object's conducted heat then the final steady state will be ice. Am I missing something here?

__________________
Few things limit our potential as much as knowing answers and setting aside questions.
Login to Reply
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Indeterminate Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: In the bothy, 7 chains down the line from Dodman's Lane level crossing, in the nation formerly known as Great Britain. Kettle's on.
Posts: 29931
Good Answers: 808
#9

Re: Physics Question in Space

02/18/2021 7:39 AM

In space, where the concentration of matter is typically 1 atom/molecule per m3, the terms solid, liquid and gas have very little meaning.

__________________
"Did you get my e-mail?" - "The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place" - George Bernard Shaw, 1856
Login to Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 14850
Good Answers: 913
#10
In reply to #9

Re: Physics Question in Space

02/18/2021 3:29 PM

Those terms certainly still have meanings in space. The distribution of each of these phases of matter in space is vastly different from here on the surface of our blue pebble. An asteroid is still solid, even if it's more like localized sand than a hard rock. The plumes from a comet are a gas, not to mention some of the luminous media found in nebulae like the pillars of creation.

Liquids in space will be rare and most likely an ephemeral phase that exists after an event (collision, shockwave, eruption) but that phase option certainly does exist.

__________________
"Don't disturb my circles." translation of Archimedes last words
Login to Reply
Login to Reply 11 comments
Interested in this discussion?
You can "subscribe" to this discussion to be notified of new comments.
Click on the Subscribe menu at the top of the page.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Anonymous Poster (1); BruceFlorida (1); HiTekRedNek (2); PWSlack (2); redfred (3); Rixter (1); SolarEagle (1)

Previous in Forum: 10 Seconds of Arc   Next in Forum: 5/8 Threaded Rod in Compression

Advertisement