I'm writing a paper for school on boiling water at various temperatures and pressures, but only noting cases wherein high temperatures were achieved without boiling under low pressure (metastable states). I haven't been able to find a good explanation for this phenomenon other then the chaotic nature of boiling coming from heterogeneities. I believe it is because of the high surface tension, but I have not been able to find any in depth resources for intermolecular bonding (in water) other than at the high school level (hydrogen bonding). I'm just looking for some guidance, thank you.


closed as primarily opinion-based by Mithoron, A.K., andselisk, Melanie Shebel, Todd Minehardt Feb 28 at 1:26

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  • $\begingroup$ So you wanna an analysis of overheating or hydrogen bonding? You may think one can get from one to another, but it's rather overoptimistic. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Feb 26 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ Well that was my initial thoughts as the surface tension of water is uniform (I think I've never found anything at all so this is just brainstorming) so it becomes hard for imperfections to appear on the surface until the surface tension varies enough for air pockets to form beneath them. I'm not sure this is just guessing, but I'm trying to find any concrete papers on this. Or just metastable states in general. $\endgroup$ – John Miller Feb 26 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ It is an interesting topic which I am not knowledgeable on but you may want to look into nucleation theory as well. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_nucleation_theory $\endgroup$ – Charlie Crown Feb 26 at 17:26

Google Scholar is very helpful when you need to read advanced level of work. The key word you can search is Superheating of liquids (water is one of the common examples). Anyone who has been burnt by microwaved water knows the pain of superheated water. There are some excellent reviews on the phenomenon of superheating.

This is pretty good overview: http://www.lassp.cornell.edu/sethna/Nucleation/

Starting from the original work in 17th Century to recent ones...

An experience to prove, that water, when agitated by fire, is infinitely more elastic than air in the same circumstances Phil. Trans., 41 (1) (1739), pp. 162-166

Experimental superheating of water and aqueous solutions https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016703709000994

Maximum Superheating of Water as a Measure of Negative Pressure https://aip.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1063/1.1722122

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, I'd heard of arXiv, Research Gate, and Google Scholar but I think I was just using incorrect terminology trying to search for papers or chapters from textbooks on the subject. $\endgroup$ – John Miller Feb 27 at 17:51

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