Useless MSDS Abbreviations
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The most common example of a vapor is water vapor (gas phase water) at room temperature and one atmosphere of pressure. Do not confuse a vapor with a dust, a fine suspension of solid particles or a mist, a fine suspension of liquid droplets. A good synonym (alternate word) for vapor is gas.
When a substance turns changes from a solid or liquid into a gas, the process is called vaporization. The material is said to vaporize or evaporate.
We can classify most materials as solids, liquids or gases. The primary distinction between these phases deals with the attractions/forces between the atoms or molecules that make up the material.|
We can express these states of matter pictorially. Of course, the molecules are shown millions of times their actual size:
It is quite common for materials to undergo phase transitions, i.e. a change between one state and another. For example, solids can melt to give liquids; the reverse process is freezing. Liquids can evaporate into gases; the reverse process is called condensation. Solids can sublime to give gases without ever forming a liquid; the reverse process is called deposition.
Always use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) such as respirators and/or engineering controls such as fume hoods when working with hazardous vapors. If possible, avoid conditions which generate such vapors in the first place. Remember that vapors can travel a long distance from their point or origin, and that some heavier-than-air vapors may tend to collect in small areas.
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