Condensation Lesson for Kids: Definition & Example

Instructor: Erin Noxon
As you may already know, water can change state from solid to liquid to gas. In today's lesson, we are going to talk about how liquid changes from a gas to a liquid during a process called condensation.

What Is Condensation?

Imagine you're sitting outside on a hot summer day drinking a cold glass of lemonade. When you set your drink down on the table for a few minutes and then go to pick it up again, you notice that the entire outside of the glass is wet. There may even be drops of water rolling down the sides of the glass. Where did the water come from? The answer lies in condensation, the process in which water vapor turns into liquid.

Condensation is responsible for the wetness on the outside of this glass.
Condensation on glass.

How Does Condensation Work?

When water is heated, it turns into its gas form, called water vapor. This is what happens when you see steam rising from a pot of boiling water. When water vapor is cooled, the opposite happens: The water vapor turns back into a liquid.

The air is full of water vapor. So, when that water vapor hits the cold glass holding your drink of lemonade, the molecules of the water vapor slow down and change states from gas to liquid. They gather together (condense) and form into the tiny little droplets of water rolling down your cup.

More Examples of Condensation

Condensation doesn't only happen to cold glasses. Any time water vapor molecules in the air slow down, they condense into liquid water. This happens high up in the atmosphere where it's cooler--water vapor rising up in the air condenses as it cools to make clouds.

Water vapor rises and condenses to form clouds.
Water vapor creates clouds.

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