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Temperature at which a liquid is converted to vapour when heated. At the boiling point, addition of heat results in the transformation of the liquid into its vapour without an increase in temperature. A liquid's boiling point varies according to the liquid's characteristics and the applied pressure. Water at standard atmospheric pressure, or sea level, boils at 212 °F (100 °C), while ethanol boils at about 172 °F (78 °C). At higher altitudes, boiling points are lower and foods can take longer to cook; pressure cookers can be used to increase the pressure so that the boiling point is raised.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on boiling point, visit Britannica.com.