General Question

mivyj's avatar

Is it possible for a human to get condensation on them?

Asked by mivyj (35points) September 26th, 2010

(Exactly what the question is)

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

22 Answers

cockswain's avatar

Do you mean if you are outside when the dew point is reached will you get damp? If so, then yes.

jaytkay's avatar

@cockswain But would your skin would have to be below the dew point? Would this only happen if it were raining and the air temperature is above 98.6 F?

cockswain's avatar

@jaytkay Excellent point. I’d say your skin may not have condensation form directly on it, but your coat should.

Rarebear's avatar

Your skin is actually significantly cooler than 98.6—that’s the core body temperature. I was going to answer yes but I’ve actually never been ouside where it’s been cold enough to form dew where I wasn’t wearing clothes. So I actually don’t know. I assume yes.

cockswain's avatar

I don’t know for sure either, so @Rarebear‘s stance is closer to what I think than what I originally wrote.

wilma's avatar

I have had dew form/fall(?) on my skin if that is what you mean.

jaytkay's avatar

I just tagged this as a great question because I don’t think we have answered it.

What if I were shivering in the cold and ran into the sauna?

cockswain's avatar

@jaytkay Wouldn’t that be a backwards effect? I’m thinking “out loud” now: the dew point is when the air cools to the point it dumps some of the water vapor out in the form of condensation. Doesn’t if follow that all surfaces will get wet at that point? Perhaps human skin, being warm enough, heats the air just near the skin so it may not condense directly on the skin. However, it may condense in a cooler region above the skin, then fall on it?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I’m not clear on the question either, but here is a possible example: Before my sister and her husband installed central air in their very southern US home, I called her up one weekend morning and asked her what she is doing. Her response was, “Oh, just sitting in bed and watching the sweat pool in my bellybutton.”

Is that it, or would it be when I fell asleep in the back yard watching some constellation event and didn’t wake up until damp by the dew?

MissAnthrope's avatar

Okay, think about how condensation forms on a glass. The liquid is cooler than the surrounding air. I would imagine for condensation to form on a human, they would either have to be dead or in really hot, humid conditions in order to get the same effect. Kinda talking out my ass here, but that’s my guess.

jaytkay's avatar

@MissAnthrope …I would imagine for condensation to form on a human, they would either have to be dead or in really hot, humid conditions in order to get the same effect…

Florida gets above 98.6 F when it’s humid.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@jaytkay – Right.. but is the temperature differential enough? This is far from my area of expertise, so forgive me if I have less of a clue about what I’m talking about than I think I do. But it’s an interesting thing to think about!

cockswain's avatar

You don’t get condensation without 100% humidity being exceeded, right? If you have x amount of water in the air, and it’s 50% humidity, doesn’t lowering the temperature increase the humidity? Eventually the air gets cool enough it condenses. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

jaytkay's avatar

@cockswain doesn’t lowering the temperature increase the humidity? Eventually the air gets cool enough it condenses.

Absolutely. If the overall temperature gets low enough, you get fog or rain.

But for this question I’m thinking of a cold pitcher of water on a hot day. Even if it doesn’t feel humid outside, the glass surface is cold enough to wring water out of the air.

So can a human body be relatively cold enough?

I am really enjoying this question. Imaging it happening is difficult. But such a simple thing must be possible, right?

cockswain's avatar

@jaytkay I think you’re right then, since it has to do more with local effects in this case. The cold pitcher will work, the warm skin will not. So I’m officially switching my first, not well thought through answer to no, only if it is really hot and humid out, above the temp of skin at near 100% humidity when the temp drops. Or if you get rained on.

Rarebear's avatar

@cockswain Tonight I’m going to do some astrophotography of Jupiter. Not sure if it’ll get cold enough, but I’ll do an experiment.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Of course, everyone so far has assumed normal body temperature. Someone experiencing hypothermia would much more easily have water condense on them. Same with frostbite.

I’ve woken up after sleeping outside, under a partial shelter and on a night that it didn’t rain, and had water on my face. It could have been dew.

Rarebear's avatar

Okay, I’m outsider taking pictures of Jupiter. It’s not a good test, though, since it’s like frakking 120 degrees out and I’m sweating in shorts and a t-shirt. Hey, I guess that’s condensation!

cockswain's avatar

Where do you live? At the equator?

Rarebear's avatar

@cockswain No, in the Bay Area, but we’re in a hot spell. Okay, I may have been off by a little bit—it’s really about 80 outside.

Actually, lack of dew is great for doing astronomy—your equipment doesn’t dew all up.

jaytkay's avatar

I’ve never seen a Fluther live field report before. Thanks, @Rarebear!

Rarebear's avatar

@jaytkay I had my laptop outside hooked up to my webcam. As it was processing pictures, I just popped online to give the report.

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