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Can metals evaporate?

  1. Jan 6, 2016 #1
    If you boil metals passing their boiling point....will it evaporate?
    If i post this in a wrong section..im sorry and thanks in advance :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2016 #2


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  4. Jan 6, 2016 #3
  5. Jan 6, 2016 #4


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    Yes, of course. For example, mercury is purified by distillation, i.e., it will evaporate in a heated vessel and condense again in a cooled tube. See here:

    You can do this also with other metals, but for metals with a high boiling point, it will be difficult to reach the necessary temperatures.
    If you look at a fused light bulb, you may observe that the glass has some grayish layer inside. This is tungsten (the metal with the highest melting point) which has been evaporated at the hot filament and condensed again on the cooler glass wall.
  6. Jan 6, 2016 #5


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    One need not heat metals past their boiling point in order to get evaporation. You get evaporation at any temperature, though the rate may be extremely low. Boiling point is simply the temperature at which the resulting pressure of metal vapor is equal to ambient atmospheric pressure.

    There is no essential difference from the situation with water and water ice. You can get evaporation from solid ice (or solid metal) or from liquid water (or molten metal). If you are able to apply enough heat you can get vapor bubbles forming beneath the surface of the liquid water (or molten metal).
  7. Jan 6, 2016 #6


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    To the OP: look up "laser ablation"

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