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What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 6:06 PM

Please don't say Steam! I have closely studied the process of water boiling. I designed and built a low temperature alcohol distillation system that utilized a heat pump and air compressor so I do have some experience with fluid dynamics; however, I recently bought a glass water boiler and studied the progression from cold to rapid boil and noticed that there are distinctly different bubbles traveling through the water from the bottom to the top of the water. FIRST there are no bubbles. SECOND there are many small bubbles that stream from bottom to top maintaining approximately the same size. THIRD The small bubbles stop and far more very small bubbles start to rise, these bubbles are so small that they look more like a white cloud. FOURTH the steam bubbles start to form on the bottom, these are large and easy to identify as steam because they can not rise to the surface through the cooler water above the heated surface, as the steam bubbles increase and the entire body of water gets hotter, the very small bubbles stop forming and the steam bubbles are able to rise closer and closer to the surface finally reaching a full boil. So In summary : does anyone know what is contained in the TINY BUBBLES and LITTLE BUBBLES? NOTE: if it were just steam - they would not be able to maintain their size through the cooler water in the pot above the heated bottom surface! ! ! Thanx for any input Harold

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#1

Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 6:15 PM
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#2

Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 6:45 PM

Dihydrogen monoxide. Obviously.

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#3

Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 6:52 PM

It's steam. Sorry!

Water expands roughly 1,600 times in volume when it turns to steam.

That's what the tiny bubbles are, that's what the little bubbles are and that's what the big bubbles are.

The temperature gradient in the water isn't that much. Remember as water heats up it expands and rises, pushing the cooler water down to be heated, so the water is circulating and so is the heat.

There are probably You Tube demos. Do a search.

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#29
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/22/2014 1:04 AM

It is clear to see that you do not have the patience to closely study a glass pot of water from the time it's cold to the time it is rapid boiling. I didn't ask the question because I missed the day in second grade when they described how water boils! I asked the question because I studied the boiling process in depth for many hours over the period of many years and realized that there are distinct differences in the bubbles that occur long before the boiling temp is reached. "Boiling water" is an arbitrary term anyway - if the entire pot were at boiling temperature, simultaneously - your house would be flying into tiny bits from the sudden explosion of steam. a pot of boiling water ..... is NOT ever entirely at boiling temperature. Please don't be condescending when you, yourself, have not done the research. Haroldoftroy

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#30
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

08/13/2014 3:51 AM

It can only be steam or dissolved gases coming out of solution. Have you tried it with water previously boiled to expel air? Any differences should give an indication. BTW gas boiled out of water has composition different from air e.g. higher in oxygen as solubilities at given partial pressure are different.

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#4

Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 7:34 PM

Its small and big bubbles made of steam. If you was in charge of the filling you know there is only water in there. If in doubt try distilled water.

Almost nothing can spoil that experiment.

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#5

Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 8:26 PM

Initially the air that is dissolved in the water will form bubbles and these will escape.

Once the water gets hot enough the bubbles are due to...

...

wait for it...

...

wait for it...

...

steam!; vaporized water; gaseous H2O.

Yes.

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#13
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 11:08 PM

I believe you are correct. It is dissolved gasses in the water that form the small bubbles prior to reaching a full boil.

It is technically called nucleate boiling and the tiny bubbles forms on the defects on the surface of the container. Same principle when opening a soda bottle and CO2 bubbles suddenly form on the inside of the bottle.

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#15
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/10/2014 8:32 AM

No, nucleate boiling is still the formation of steam bubbles in water. It does happen at very localized hot spots.

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#17
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/10/2014 10:32 AM

Thanks for the correction. Pulling that stuff out of old memory and I guess some neuronal pathways have become crossed.

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#18
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/10/2014 3:05 PM

Oh boy! Now I can call my teapot a "nucleate reactor" and scare people. For hicks, that would be a "nuculate reactor.

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#19
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/10/2014 4:05 PM

Nuculur if you're from Arkansas.

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#26
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/14/2014 10:57 AM

Since the OP did not mention the nature or intensity of his heat source, nor any pressure on this system, I shall add to the discussion of dissolved light solutes (gases) "boiling" out of solution, first by stating if you have a solution of sodium bicarbonate in degassed water (start under good vacuum), and vigorously heat with a high temperature source very rapidly, then the dissolved salt in this case will disproportionate to carbon dioxide ("boils" out of solution), and sodium carbonate.

There are a number of thermally labile compounds called pyrolytic salts (as ammonium bicarbonate example) that "boil" out of solution well below the normal boiling point of water. One cannot "observe" a system and make conclusions about it without a proper definition of the system. So, Mr. OP, please do go ahead and define the system.

Did you know that water with a colloidal suspension of carbon or gold nanopaticles in it will boil and exert steam pressure when concentration sunlight is present, even though bulk water temperature is no where near the boiling point?

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#6

Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 8:36 PM

Unless you are boiling pure water, the bubbles could consist of whatever other fluids are mixed with the water.

The temperature at which each fluid begins to boil (boiling point) would be different depending on the specific gravity of each fluid and what type of molecular bonding has occurred between the combined fluids.

Therefore; in order to submit a semi-intelligent wag as to the composition of each bubble formed there is a lot more chemical DATA acquisition required and a much higher resolution of temperature control.

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#7
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 9:04 PM

You are correct in part and GA. Usbport intimated what follows in his post. There are many compounds that can dissolve in water and is referred to as solubility. Most gases such N2, CO2, O2, NH3, NH4, H2S, etc are more soluble at lower temperatures. These compounds will be less soluble as the water is heated and be driven out of solution by temperature. Pressure can also be a factor affecting solubility. The initial bubbles will be made of these gases. You can look up solubility curves for most compounds and can be compared to temperature. There are also saturation points where no further increase in the water can be achieved at a standard temperature.

Once the initial run of bubbles made by the dissolved gases from air or from subterranean sources have been exhausted and the temperature of the water gets higher or approaches the boiling point at 100 degrees C, the pressure in the water nears the atmospheric pressure. The result is then steam and is a big part of the bubbles. As you go higher in altitude, atmospheric pressure decreases and so does the boiling point.

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#8
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 9:09 PM

He said, "what time is it".

We tell him how to build a watch!

Come on, let's not beat this into the ground.

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#11
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 9:27 PM

Yep, but the OP didn't want to hear that the bubbles are just steam.

My question is; "What are all of the small and large bubbles in a hot tub?"

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#12
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 9:39 PM

They're very friendly bubbles.

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#23
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/11/2014 12:21 AM

Some of those bubbles could be a mixture of CH4, H2S, and CO2.

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#24
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/11/2014 3:42 AM

There is a legend about how Walla Walla, WA, USA was named....

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#27
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/18/2014 12:21 PM

[ My question is; "What are all of the small and large bubbles in a hot tub?" ]

That depends, is the tub occupied at the moment? Could the bubbles have been generated internally by one of the occupants?

Sometimes I think that's why hot tums are chlorinated to "washing hospital linens" level, not to kill the microbes, but to bur out everyone's sense of smell so they don't realize when one of 'those' bubbles reaches the surface.

Or I could simply be firing ideas out of my -but I digress.

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#28
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/19/2014 4:55 PM

The long lasting bubbles in a running hot tub is the results of body oils and scum off your body. That's why they sell defoaming agents for hot tubs.

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#14
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 11:41 PM

Sorry but I couldn't think of a short "Jeopardy " answer in the form of a question.

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#10
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Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 9:22 PM

Better answer by far.

Hopefully the OP gets as much out of this as I have.

Thanks!

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#9

Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/09/2014 9:19 PM

Water boils in several stages, too.

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#16

Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/10/2014 8:57 AM

Here's a good article (one of few from eHow).

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#20

Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/10/2014 4:54 PM

Must be some really good stuff your smoking to have the patience to sit there and analyze and wonder about all those bubbles. I wonder what they use on the "Lawrence Welk's Show"? They were big bubbles too but I don't think they were steam.

But then I never did like that show, and didn't have any of the good $hit back then,to give me the patience, and so I couldn't sit there and analyze them

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#21

Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/10/2014 11:02 PM

Steam(water vapor) is invisible to the naked eye.

What you call steam is really condensed water vapor.

The bubbles are water vapor or entrained gases.

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#22

Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/11/2014 12:03 AM

The initial bubbles when water is heated is nominally:

Nitrogen -- N2 -- 78.084%, Oxygen -- O2 -- 20.9476%, Argon -- Ar -- 0.934%, Carbon Dioxide -- CO2 -- 0.0314%, Neon -- Ne -- 0.001818%, Methane -- CH4 -- 0.0002%, Helium -- He -- 0.000524%, Krypton -- Kr -- 0.000114%, Hydrogen -- H2 -- 0.00005%, Xenon -- Xe -- 0.0000087% (Air that was dissolved in the water)

When it starts to approach the boiling point, the bubbles that rise are: the vapor phase of Dihydrogen monoxide (oxidane). There are also trace amounts of deuterium monoxide in the liquid. This is plain old ordinary water.

Ice cubes are the solidified state of the above.

Good Luck, Old Salt

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#25

Re: What Are The Small Bubbles In Boiling Water Made Of?

07/11/2014 6:36 PM

You seem to have a penchant for observation versus theory. Why don't you try observing pure water - distilled, filtered - in a clean container and see what happens?

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