Why Water has a Higher Boiling Point

Video why does water have a high boiling point

In many science classes, students are familiar with the concept of the boiling point of water. Most people know that water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, while alcohol boils at a lower temperature of 179.3 degrees. But have you ever wondered why water has a higher boiling point than alcohol? In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this phenomenon and provide some insights on how to correctly boil water. So, let’s dive in!

Understanding Boiling Points

Before we delve into the specifics, let’s first understand what a boiling point is. The boiling point of a substance refers to the temperature at which the vapor pressure of the liquid equals the atmospheric pressure surrounding it. When this happens, bubbles of vapor form within the liquid, rise to the surface, and release vapor into the atmosphere.

Two main factors influence the boiling point of a liquid: atmospheric pressure and intermolecular forces between molecules. The atmospheric pressure determines the maximum vapor pressure that a liquid can reach, while intermolecular forces determine the energy required to overcome these forces and form vapor bubbles.

The Role of Intermolecular Forces

In general, liquids with stronger intermolecular forces exhibit higher boiling points compared to those with weaker forces. When it comes to water, its high boiling point can be attributed to the presence of hydrogen bonding between water molecules.

At room temperature, there are only a few hydrogen bonds between water molecules. However, as water is heated, more and more hydrogen bonds form between the molecules. Consequently, it takes more energy to break these bonds and convert water into vapor.

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In contrast, alcohol does not exhibit the same hydrogen bonding property as water. This difference in intermolecular forces allows alcohol to boil at a lower temperature than water. Additionally, alcohol molecules are smaller than water molecules, making it easier for them to evaporate.

The Impact of Molecular Size

Another factor that contributes to the disparity in boiling points between water and alcohol is the size of the molecules. Water molecules are larger than alcohol molecules, which affects their packing and interaction with one another.

Due to the smaller size of alcohol molecules, they can pack together more tightly, resulting in stronger intermolecular forces. This gives water the advantage of stronger bonds and higher boiling points compared to alcohol.


To summarize, the higher boiling point of water compared to alcohol can be attributed to the presence of hydrogen bonding and larger molecular size in water. These factors result in stronger intermolecular forces and require more energy for water to reach its boiling point.

So the next time you’re boiling water for a cup of tea or cooking pasta, take a moment to appreciate the fascinating science behind it. And if you’re looking to enhance your academic journey, check out 5 WS for more informative articles and resources.

Boiling Water

Remember, learning is a continuous process, so keep exploring and expanding your knowledge.

Happy boiling!

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