The Boiling Point of Water

This article is about the boiling point of water. First , it will note both the Celsius and Fahrenheit temperatures at which water boils. Then, it will briefly explain how the temperature at which water boils may differ from location to location or from elevation to elevation. Finally, it will look at how boiling water can be used and its efficacy as a sterilization process for drinking or cooking water.

Conventionally, the water temperature at which water boils is considered to be 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degress Fahrenheit. However, these numbers are only valid at sea level. As barometric pressure changes so too does the boiling point of water. For instance, as elevation increases the boiling point lowers. On the top of Mount Everest, for example, boiling water is possible at a water temperature of 68 degrees Celsius or 154 degrees Fahrenheit. Conversely, in deep ocean vents, water can be much hotter than that without boiling.

Boiling water is useful for cooking pasta, vegetables or potatoes. In addition, some people attempt to boil water in order to sterilize it. This method can be effective, but certain precautions must be kept in mind. First of all, most bacteria and micro organisms will die when the water is boiled. However, in some cases their death is dependent on the temperature of the water rather than whether or not it is boiling. Thus, at certain elevations, boiling water is not hot enough to kill some organisms. Second of all, other organisms are simply resistant to boiling water at any temperature. To promote the death of these organisms in either of these circumstances, it is advised that the water is boiled for at least ten minutes to ensure that most if not all bacteria are destroyed.

Essentially, boiling water is water than is changing from a liquid to a gas. During that change, it can be used for a variety of purposes like cooking and sterilization. As noted above, the standard temperatures for boiling are 212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Celsius, but those numbers differ in certain conditions.