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Allen asked the Naked Scientists: When I heat water on the stove there is a little steam given off. However, if I turn off the heat source just before boiling, I see a big increase in vapor. Why is that?What do you think?
Well the 'steam' that you're seeing isn't actually steam, steam is invisible. It's fog, steam which has cooled and condensed into small liquid water droplets, not gas. So maybe when the water is boiling the steam is hotter for longer and doesn't condense until it's dispersed away from the pot, whereas just before it boils it condenses to fog almost immediately.