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  1. **Explanation**

    This video is a nice demonstration of the properties of [superheated steam]( The word superheated here means that the vapor has a higher temperature than the boiling point of water. You can’t get steam this hot by simply boiling water. Instead, you need to take the initial steam you generate and you then need to pass it through an additional unit called the superheater. In this case, the superheater is simply the copper piping where a torch is used to supply additional heat to the steam, raising its temperature further.

    A key property of superheated steam is that it is dry. What that means is that it consists of 100% gas. Moreover, because its temperature is above the boiling point of water, this kind of steam can lose energy without condensing. You can better see this idea if you watch the full video below. Before superheating, the steam leaves a tell-tale from the vapor recondensing into droplets near the nozzle. However after you superheat it, the steam is invisible as it leaves the piping.

    A second key property of superheated steam is that it packs a lot of thermal energy. This energy can then be transferred to objects coming in contact with the steam. In fact, if the temperature of the steam is high enough, the object can reach a local temperature above its [autoignition temperature]( and ignite. That is exactly what happens in the clip in the case of the match.


    **Source for the GIF** [This video](

    edit: fixed a typo

  2. Super-heated steam is no joke. A relative worked in a refinery that used it, and it would sometimes blast a tiny hole in the pipe, but it was so hot as to be invisible. To find the leaks, they walked with a two by four in front until it would get blasted by the steam, because otherwise it would cut straight through a person if they ran across it unprotected.

  3. When I worked at a nuclear plant, there was always warning about waking through the steam side of the plant. If there were to be a leak of the high temp/pressure steam from the pipes, there could be a chance you wouldn’t be able to see or hear it and would cause serious bodily injury or death. Many would say it would cut you in half as you walked by.

  4. Now in the rare case someone uses the expression “is water wet” in reference to something being obvious, I can be that annoying guy who chimes in with this bullshit.

  5. Yeah superheaters are standard in power plants to create electricity.

    The company I work for is now using H2O to make a flame with a temperature of 2500 degrees to be used in brazing applications. When I first saw it I thought it was witch craft! No oxygen and acetylene, just water and electricity!!

  6. Videos in this thread: [Watch Playlist ▶](

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  7. I work in a sugar factory where they use superheated steam to drive turbines, yet I never knew this.

    Now I have an irrational fear of a pipe with said superheated steam bursting with me in close proximity.

  8. Not sure if you wnatet to say it like i understand it, but it is not the “wetness” of water that extinguishes fire but the fact that water is “cool” and by that I mean that it takes a ridiculus amount of energy to heat it up and boil it. So when you extinguish a fire with water, the water sucks all the energy that is required for the reaction away from the fire.
    That is also why it sets the match on fire. The steam is already more energetic than the surroundings.

  9. I fucks with dry steam everyday, D-type conventional boilers making superheated steam at 415degrees C, at 4500kpa. We make it to heat water, which is then mixed with pay crude to make a slurry.

  10. In plants using superheated steam above a certain pressure they will actually use a corn broom run around the perimeter of a flange to find leaks. The leaks can be heard but not seen due to the dryness of the steam, so they run the broom around the flange to see which flange is leaking, the broom actually catches fire at the leak.

  11. When I did the power engineering program, to fuck around we would hollow out huge snow piles with the dry steam. That was fun.

  12. They should definitely be wearing gloves. Especially the guy on the left, if you watch the full video he is practically sticking his face in it.

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