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Enthalpy of Vaporization

Enthalpy in Intensive Units – Specific Enthalpy

Extensive vs. intensive thermodynamic properties
Extensive and intensive properties of the medium in the pressurizer.

The enthalpy can be made into an intensive or specific variable by dividing by the mass. Engineers use the specific enthalpy in thermodynamic analysis more than the enthalpy itself. The specific enthalpy (h) of a substance is its enthalpy per unit mass. It equals the total enthalpy (H) divided by the total mass (m).

h = H/m


h = specific enthalpy (J/kg)

H = enthalpy (J)

m = mass (kg)

Note that enthalpy is the thermodynamic quantity equivalent to the total heat content of a system. The specific enthalpy is equal to the specific internal energy of the system plus the product of pressure and specific volume.

h = u + pv

In general, enthalpy is a property of a substance, like pressure, temperature, and volume, but it cannot be measured directly. Normally, the enthalpy of a substance is given for some reference value. For example, the specific enthalpy of water or steam is given using the reference that the specific enthalpy of water is zero at 0.01°C and normal atmospheric pressure, where hL = 0.00 kJ/kg. The absolute value of specific enthalpy is unknown is not a problem, however, because it is the change in specific enthalpy (∆h) and not the absolute value that is important in practical problems.

See also: Steam Tables

Energy Balance in a Steam Generator
Steam Generator - vertical
Steam Generator – vertical

Calculate the amount of primary coolant, which is required to evaporate 1 kg of feedwater in a typical steam generator. Assume that there are no energy losses. This is an only idealized example.

Balance of the primary circuit

The hot primary coolant (water 330°C; 626°F; 16MPa) is pumped into the steam generator through the primary inlet. The primary coolant leaves (water 295°C; 563°F; 16MPa) the steam generator through the primary outlet.

hI, inlet = 1516 kJ/kg

=> ΔhI = -206 kJ/kg

hI, outlet = 1310 kJ/kg

Balance of the feedwater

The feedwater (water 230°C; 446°F; 6,5MPa) is pumped into the steam generator through the feedwater inlet. The feedwater (secondary circuit) is heated from ~230°C 446°F to the boiling point of that fluid (280°C; 536°F; 6,5MPa). Feedwater is then evaporated, and the pressurized steam (saturated steam 280°C; 536°F; 6,5 MPa) leaves the steam generator through the steam outlet and continues to the steam turbine.

hII, inlet = 991 kJ/kg

=> ΔhII = 1789 kJ/kg

hII, outlet = 2780 kJ/kg

Balance of the steam generator

Since the difference in specific enthalpies is less for primary coolant than for feedwater, it is obvious that the amount of primary coolant will be higher than 1kg. To produce of 1 kg of saturated steam from feedwater, about 1789/206 x 1 kg =  8.68 kg of primary coolant is required.

Enthalpy of Vaporization

Latent heat of vaporization - water at 0.1 MPa, 3 MPa, 16 MPa
The heat of vaporization diminishes with increasing pressure while the boiling point increases. It vanishes completely at a certain point called the critical point.

In general, when a material changes phase from solid to liquid or from liquid to gas, a certain amount of energy is involved in this change of phase. In the case of liquid to gas phase change, this amount of energy is the enthalpy of vaporization (symbol ∆Hvap; unit: J), also known as the (latent) heat of vaporization or heat of evaporation. Latent heat is the amount of heat added to or removed from a substance to produce a phase change. This energy breaks down the intermolecular attractive forces and must provide the energy necessary to expand the gas (the pΔV work). When latent heat is added, no temperature change occurs. The enthalpy of vaporization is a function of the pressure at which that transformation takes place.

Latent heat of vaporization – water at 0.1 MPa (atmospheric pressure)

hlg = 2257 kJ/kg

Latent heat of vaporization – water at 3 MPa (pressure inside a steam generator)

hlg = 1795 kJ/kg

Latent heat of vaporization – water at 16 MPa (pressure inside a pressurizer)

hlg = 931 kJ/kg

The heat of vaporization diminishes with increasing pressure while the boiling point increases. It vanishes completely at a certain point called the critical point. Above the critical point, the liquid and vapor phases are indistinguishable, and the substance is called a supercritical fluid.

The heat of vaporization is the heat required to completely vaporize a unit of saturated liquid (or condense a unit mass of saturated vapor), equal to hlg = hg − hl.

The heat necessary to melt (or freeze) a unit mass at the substance at constant pressure is the heat of fusion and is equal to hsl = hl − hs, where hs is the enthalpy of saturated solid and hl is the enthalpy of saturated liquid.

Phase changes - enthalpy of vaporization
Latent heat of vaporization – water at 0.1 MPa. The dominant part of the heat is absorbed.

Specific Enthalpy of Wet Steam

wet-steam-vapor-liquid-mixture-minThe specific enthalpy of saturated liquid water (x=0) and dry steam (x=1) can be picked from steam tables. In the case of wet steam, the actual enthalpy can be calculated with the vapor quality, x, and the specific enthalpies of saturated liquid water and dry steam:

hwet = hs x + (1 – x ) hl              


hwet = enthalpy of wet steam (J/kg)

hs = enthalpy of “dry” steam (J/kg)

hl = enthalpy of saturated liquid water (J/kg)

As can be seen, wet steam will always have lower enthalpy than dry steam.


engineering thermodynamics
Rankine Cycle – Thermodynamics as Energy Conversion Science

A high-pressure steam turbine stage operates at a steady state with inlet conditions of  6 MPa, t = 275.6°C, x = 1 (point C). Steam leaves this turbine stage at a pressure of 1.15 MPa, 186°C, and x = 0.87 (point D). Calculate the enthalpy difference between these two states.

The enthalpy for the state C can be picked directly from steam tables, whereas the enthalpy for the state D must be calculated using vapor quality:

h1, wet = 2785 kJ/kg

h2, wet = h2,s x + (1 – x ) h2,l  = 2782 . 0.87 + (1 – 0.87) . 790 = 2420 + 103 = 2523 kJ/kg

Δh = 262 kJ/kg

Reactor Physics and Thermal Hydraulics:
  1. J. R. Lamarsh, Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Theory, 2nd ed., Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA (1983).
  2. J. R. Lamarsh, A. J. Baratta, Introduction to Nuclear Engineering, 3d ed., Prentice-Hall, 2001, ISBN: 0-201-82498-1.
  3. W. M. Stacey, Nuclear Reactor Physics, John Wiley & Sons, 2001, ISBN: 0- 471-39127-1.
  4. Glasstone, Sesonske. Nuclear Reactor Engineering: Reactor Systems Engineering, Springer; 4th edition, 1994, ISBN: 978-0412985317
  5. Todreas Neil E., Kazimi Mujid S. Nuclear Systems Volume I: Thermal Hydraulic Fundamentals, Second Edition. CRC Press; 2 edition, 2012, ISBN: 978-0415802871
  6. Zohuri B., McDaniel P. Thermodynamics in Nuclear Power Plant Systems. Springer; 2015, ISBN: 978-3-319-13419-2
  7. Moran Michal J., Shapiro Howard N. Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics, Fifth Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2006, ISBN: 978-0-470-03037-0
  8. Kleinstreuer C. Modern Fluid Dynamics. Springer, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4020-8670-0.
  9. U.S. Department of Energy, THERMODYNAMICS, HEAT TRANSFER, AND FLUID FLOW. DOE Fundamentals Handbook, Volume 1, 2, and 3. June 1992.

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