# Condensing water into an area?

split
What would happen if you were to take some liquid, let's say a half-gallon of water to make it easy to think about, and pour it into a small chamber, then condense it as much as possible? I'm talking about some extremely stable chamber that can withstand lots of pressure from the water being condensed.

I don't know if such a container could exist, but if it could, would anything neat happen if you were to smash it down enough?

## Answers and Replies

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Liquid water, is, by definition, already condensed. The word 'condense' means to go from vapor phase to liquid phase.

Furthermore, water is (nearly) incompressible, so not much of interest would happen.

- Warren

split
Argh. I meant "compressed."

Is there any matter that exhibits interesting properties when greatly compressed?

Also, why can't water be compressed much further? It seems to me like anything could be compressed with the right force. Then again I'm not exactly a professional physicist. Maybe you (or someone) could explain it to me?

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Well, at least in laboratory conditions, water is more or less incompressible. You could, in principle, compress it down until electron degeneracy pressure holds it up. Then you could compress it more, until the reverse beta decay turns the whole mess into a soup of neutrons supported by neutron degeneracy pressure. Then you could compress it more, and it would turn into a black hole.

We have nowhere near the technology that would be required to do those things in a laboratory though. Those processes happen inside stars.

- Warren

Peter Pan
What would happen if you were to take some liquid, let's say a half-gallon of water to make it easy to think about, and pour it into a small chamber, then condense it as much as possible?

If you mean compress instead of condense, the following equation applies:

PV=nrT where P=presure
V=volume
n=number of moles
r=universal gas constant
T=Temperature in degrees K

When you decrease the volume of the chamber, one of two things will occur(if not both). The pressure on the walls of the chamber will increase(if temperature is held constant). The Temperature of the water will decrease(if the pressrue is held constant).

Water is a little wierd. It is the only substance that I know of that increases in volume when frozen. I believe this is caused by hydrogen bonding.

To fully address your question, if you had a strong enough chamber and unlimited force, both volume and temp would approach 0.

Pan

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Originally posted by Peter Pan

PV=nrT where P=presure
V=volume
n=number of moles
r=universal gas constant
T=Temperature in degrees K
Sorry Peter. That's the ideal gas law. Liquid water is about as far from an ideal gas as you could get. It doesn't apply, even vaguely.

- Warren

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Most fluids are considered pretty much incompressible. Next time you walk by a construction side watch a Back hoe at work that is all done with hydraulics which are a real world application of the incompressibility of fluids. I work on clean room tools which use some hydraulics, instead of oil they use water.

The reason these tools are able to generate huge amounts of force is the incompressibility of the hydraulic fluid. If it where to change in volume under pressure hydraulic machines simply would not work.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Right, there are a lot of different kinds of water ice, some a little denser than others. I don't think that's the "excitement" that split was hoping for.

- Warren