Below the critical temperature of 647 K (374°C) and under the proper pressure, water molecules condense to form a liquid or solid—condensed water. Properties of water, ice, and vapor must be considered in freezing, pressure-cooking, and microwave heating. In food processing, these phases transform among one another.

The transitions and the properties of condensed phases are manifestations of microscopic properties of water molecules. However, condensation modifies microscopic properties such as bond lengths, bond angles, vibration, rotation, and electronic energy levels. The same is true when water molecules interact with biomolecules and food molecules.

All phases of water play important parts in biochemistry and food science. Water has many anomalous properties, which are related to polarity and hydrogen bonding. The melting point (mp), boiling point (bp), and critical temperature are abnormally high for water. As a rule, the melting and boiling points of a substance are related to its molecular mass; the higher the molar mass, the higher the melting and boiling points.


Melting and boiling points of water (molar mass 18, mp 273 K, bp 373 K) are higher than those of hydrogen compounds of adjacent elements of the same period, NH3 (molar mass 17, mp 195 K, bp 240 K) and HF (molar mass 20, mp 190 K, bp 293 K). If we compare the hydrogen compounds of elements from the same group (O, S, Se, and Te), the normal boiling point of H2O (373 K) is by far the highest among H2S, H2Se, and H2Te.

Much energy (21 kJ mol1 ) is required to break the hydrogen bonds. The strong hydrogen bonds among water molecules in condensed phase result in anomalous properties, including the high enthalpies (energies) of fusion, sublimation, and evaporation given in Table 5.1. Internal energies and entropies are also high.

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