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Sublimation vs. Evaporation: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on February 10, 2024
Sublimation is the transition of a substance directly from solid to gas, while evaporation is the change of a liquid to vapor, typically at the surface and below boiling point.
Sublimation vs. Evaporation

Key Differences

Sublimation is a physical process where a solid changes directly into a gas without passing through the liquid state. This phenomenon occurs under specific temperature and pressure conditions. Evaporation, conversely, is the process where a liquid turns into vapor, happening mainly at the surface of the liquid.
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Feb 10, 2024
Sublimation requires certain substances like dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) or snow in cold climates. It's a less common phase transition compared to evaporation. Evaporation is a ubiquitous process observed in everyday life, such as when water disappears from a puddle or clothes dry in the sun.
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Feb 10, 2024
In sublimation, energy is absorbed to overcome intermolecular forces, directly transitioning from a solid to a gas. This occurs without the intermediate liquid phase. In evaporation, energy is used to break the intermolecular forces within the liquid, releasing molecules as vapor.
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Feb 10, 2024
Sublimation is often observed under low-pressure conditions or with materials having low vapor pressure at room temperature. Evaporation, on the other hand, is a common occurrence in everyday atmospheric conditions and is crucial in processes like the water cycle.
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Feb 10, 2024
Sublimation is utilized in freeze-drying and sublimation printing techniques. It's a key process in manufacturing and scientific research. Evaporation plays a critical role in cooling mechanisms, like in sweat evaporating from the skin, and is a fundamental concept in meteorology and climatology.
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Comparison Chart

Phase Transition

Solid to gas.
Liquid to vapor.
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Common Occurrence

Occurs under specific conditions; less common.
Ubiquitous in nature and daily life.
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Energy Requirement

Absorbs energy to transition directly to gas.
Absorbs energy to break liquid's intermolecular forces.
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Environmental Conditions

Often requires low pressure or specific substances.
Occurs under normal atmospheric conditions.
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Applications

Used in freeze-drying, scientific research.
Important in cooling, water cycle, climatology.
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Sublimation and Evaporation Definitions

Sublimation

Direct Solid-Gas Transition
Dry ice undergoes sublimation, turning directly into carbon dioxide gas.
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Jan 19, 2024

Evaporation

Cooling Effect Process
The evaporation of sweat from the skin helps in body cooling.
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Jan 19, 2024

Sublimation

Phase Change Process
Sublimation is crucial in freeze-drying foods for preservation.
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Jan 19, 2024

Evaporation

Liquid-to-Vapor Change
Water evaporation from a pond contributes to the water cycle.
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Jan 19, 2024

Sublimation

Scientific Concept
Sublimation is studied in physics as a unique phase transition.
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Evaporation

Surface Phenomenon
Evaporation occurs as water molecules escape from the surface of a liquid.
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Jan 19, 2024

Sublimation

Low Pressure Phenomenon
In a vacuum, sublimation can occur at a faster rate.
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Jan 19, 2024

Evaporation

Everyday Observation
Evaporation of rainwater from streets is common after a downpour.
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Sublimation

To be transformed directly from the solid to the gaseous state or from the gaseous to the solid state without becoming a liquid.
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Jan 18, 2024

Evaporation

To convert or change into a vapor.
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Sublimation

(Chemistry) To cause (a solid or gas) to sublimate.
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Evaporation

To draw off in the form of vapor.
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Sublimation

(Psychology) In psychoanalytic theory, to divert or modify (an instinctual impulse or drive) into an activity or interest of higher social value.
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Evaporation

To draw moisture from, as by heating, leaving only the dry solid portion.
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Sublimation

(Chemistry) A product of sublimation.
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Evaporation

To deposit (a metal) on a substrate by vacuum sublimation.
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Sublimation

(chemistry) The transition of a substance from the solid phase directly to the vapor state such that it does not pass through the intermediate liquid phase.
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Evaporation

To change into vapor.
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Sublimation

(psychology) The transformation of an impulse into something socially constructive.
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Evaporation

To pass off in or as vapor.
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Sublimation

Elevation; exaltation; a making sublime.
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Evaporation

To produce vapor.
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Sublimation

The act or process of subliming, or the state or result of being sublimed.
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Evaporation

To disappear; vanish
Our fears at last evaporated.
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Sublimation

The act of heightening or improving; exaltation; elevation; purification.
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Evaporation

The process of a liquid converting to the gaseous state.
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Sublimation

That which is sublimed; the product of a purifying process.
Religion is the perfection, refinement, and sublimation of morality.
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Evaporation

The process in which all or a portion of liquid (in a container) is turned into vapour, in order to increase the concentration of solid matter in the mixture.
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Jan 18, 2024

Sublimation

(chemistry) a change directly from the solid to the gaseous state without becoming liquid
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Evaporation

(archaic) That which is evaporated; vapor.
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Sublimation

(psychology) modifying the natural expression of an impulse or instinct (especially a sexual one) to one that is socially acceptable
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Evaporation

The process by which any substance is converted from a liquid state into, and carried off in, vapor; as, the evaporation of water, of ether, of camphor.
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Jan 18, 2024

Sublimation

Material Processing Technique
Sublimation printing transfers designs onto fabric without a liquid phase.
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Jan 19, 2024

Evaporation

The transformation of a portion of a fluid into vapor, in order to obtain the fixed matter contained in it in a state of greater consistence.
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Evaporation

That which is evaporated; vapor.
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Evaporation

See Vaporization.
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Evaporation

The process of becoming a vapor
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Evaporation

The process of extracting moisture
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Evaporation

Atmospheric Condition Impact
High humidity slows down the rate of evaporation.
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Jan 19, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is sublimation a common natural process?

Sublimation is less common and occurs in specific natural settings.
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Feb 10, 2024

Do all solids sublimate?

No, only certain solids like dry ice sublimate under specific conditions.
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Feb 10, 2024

What is sublimation?

Sublimation is the process where a solid turns directly into gas.
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Does evaporation occur only at boiling point?

No, evaporation occurs at temperatures below the boiling point.
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What's an example of sublimation in daily life?

Dry ice used in shipping frozen foods undergoes sublimation.
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Feb 10, 2024

What is evaporation?

Evaporation is the process of a liquid turning into vapor at its surface.
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Feb 10, 2024

What is sublimation printing?

It's a technique where dye turns into gas to bond with fabric.
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Is evaporation always visible?

Evaporation is not always visible, especially at a slow rate.
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Is evaporation a cooling process?

Yes, evaporation absorbs heat, causing a cooling effect.
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What factors affect evaporation?

Temperature, surface area, and humidity affect evaporation rates.
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Can sublimation occur at room temperature?

Yes, for certain substances like naphthalene or dry ice.
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Can sublimation occur in food?

Yes, freeze-drying food is a form of sublimation.
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Feb 10, 2024

Can sublimation be used in manufacturing?

Yes, it's used in manufacturing processes like freeze-drying.
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Does pressure affect sublimation?

Yes, lower pressure can facilitate the sublimation process.
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How is evaporation part of the water cycle?

Evaporation of water from oceans and lakes contributes to cloud formation.
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Can we see sublimation happen?

Sublimation can be observed as solid dry ice turns into gas.
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Feb 10, 2024

What role does evaporation play in climate?

It helps regulate temperature and distributes water vapor.
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Does wind speed affect evaporation?

Higher wind speeds can increase the rate of evaporation.
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Is sublimation reversible?

Yes, when gas turns back into solid without becoming liquid.
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What's an example of evaporation indoors?

Water evaporating from a wet floor is a common example.
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Feb 10, 2024

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Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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