Steam and its Various Aspects

August 29, 2023

Water exists in all three forms of matter possible on earth i.e., solid, liquid, and gas. Further, all three of them come with their own uses and benefits. They follow a simple pattern of melting and boiling from solid to liquid and then to gas. The pattern also exists in the opposite direction as condensation and freezing for gas to liquid and then to solid.

It gets even more complex with liquid changing to vapor and steam as forms of gases. Among these two stand the main difference that vapors do not have heat in them while steam does.


If the water is heated to 373.1 Kelvin or 212 degrees Fahrenheit, it changes into gas form. This form contains a tremendous amount of heat including the specific amount of heat for every Kelvin and the latent heat of evaporation. This heat changes the liquid water into gas. While this gas is called steam.

Since it requires heat and stands at 373.1 Kelvin, steam is extremely dangerous. But at the same time, this can be used for various purposes such as in steam turbines. Mechanical shop drawings can guide in its construction and usage. Its primary characteristics or aspects are:

  • It is very hot to touch and hence requires proper handling. Direct contact should to avoided particularly for eyes
  • It is colorless like water. But the molecule produces a refraction effect on the surrounding. This effect can feel as the molecule move upwards. This way, their presence can be seen
  • It carries no odor since all the constituents other than H20 are separated. As the water boils, only the H20 molecule changes into a gas. While other ions mixed in water are left behind while microorganisms are killed
  • It has no taste. Only the temperature is felt if someone put his or her tongue to steam. Although that could burn the tongue
  • It can be disturbed and controlled with very little effort. The molecule is big enough to entrap and redirect as per need. This can help utilize the heat for various purposes
  • It transfers heat with thermal contact. Just as something comes in contact with it, it loses some of its heat to it. While it loses heat to the air, this heat can be fashioned into required usage
  • It holds a substantial amount of pressure in it. This pressure is mainly due to heat which is a form of energy. Next, the molecules need to travel in an upward direction to reach the position at their density. This pressure can also be used for purposes
  • Its volume is like other gases. The molecules expand if left on their own. This way the property of diffusion applies to steam like other gases

These are some of the fundamental aspects of steam that play a vital role in its usage.

Types of Steams

It exists in variations as per its constituents and condition. These are simple:

Utility Steam. This is produced by a boiler containing softened water or any other treated boiler.

Saturated Steam. aka Dry Steam. This comes by simply heating water till boiling point.

Superheated Steam. This is made by heating the water beyond the boiling point.

Flash Steam. This is formed as a result of condensate discharge from higher pressure to a lower pressure system.

Culinary Steam. The steam is used to sterilize food and other related items such as medicine containers.

Filtered Steam. Utility steam filtered through a strainer. This too is used for sterilization processes.

Pure Steam or Clean Steam. The steam includes nothing except the water molecule.


Steam is the heat gas form of water. Water is heated up to 373.1 Kelvin or 212 Fahrenheit and then it changes to gaseous form. This form comes with some normal and some highly vital characteristics or aspects. Also, it comes in different types as per its conditions and constituents. These allow its usage for all too many purposes such as in steam turbines. (This requires certain equipment such as a pipe spool, for which pipe spool shop drawings can be availed).



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