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It is often said that a good trainer can teach any subject, even if he or she is not a subject matter expert. Therefore, it might as equally be said that if you want to write short pieces on a lot of subjects, and do it quickly, you don't want to be bogged down by a lot of facts and information.

This Guide to Steam is part of an ongoing series of guides that are designed to optimize the use of my time, by allocating absolutely none of it to research, and is written under the assumption that the reader is not silly enough to approach steam in its native environment.

Types of steam:

Cool - more accurately referred to as mist or hot water vapour. Used as a refreshing way to humidify a dry room.

Warm - Most often occurs when hotter steam begins to lose its heat and nears the temperature needed for condensation. Used to moisten wrinkled clothing to get the material to relax and smooth out without pressing.

Hot - Generally, just above the boiling point of the liquid. Great removing wallpaper, clearing the pores, and for tea.

Super Hot - Steam created under great pressure, well above the normal boiling point. Often used in the production of Electrical or Mechanical energy through the use of turbines.

How to make steam:

Steam is most often created from water, although you can add things to the water to change the characteristics of the steam for different uses. Commonly added substances include Camphor (to clear breathing passages), herbs (to imbue rice or vegetables with additional flavour while cooking), puddings (to cook them).

How to recognise steam:

You can't, visually. Steam is a gas composed of hydrogen-water molecules and is invisible to the naked eye, although the heat can have a tendency to distort light and make things look 'wavy'.

You can recognise steam by touch, when the skin gets very hot, probably moist, and things look wavy.

Super Hot steam can actually remove the skin from bone, largely through blistering.

How to avoid steam:

Avoid areas where fire and water can be found near each other; this includes kitchens, saunas, forest fires, etc.

How steam has been used:

The most obvious use of steam is to provide heat, whether used for cooking (very healthy, as a rule), or to heat buildings (potentially hazardous, all those boilers and things, but effective).

Steam has been used as a power source for nearly 2,000 years, although the earliest examples of steam power did not do much. The first example was developed by Heron, who called his toy the Aeolipile (wind ball, in Greek), some 1,600 years before English military engineer Thomas Savery patented the first crude steam engine in 1698.

Heron of Alexandira was never to fully realize the importance of his much neglected toy.

Since then, Steam has been used to power trains, generators, automobiles, elevators, and other devices, assuring recognition for its importance in the history of mechanical engineering and power.

Other meanings related to 'Steam':

Being steamed is a euphemism for enraged or upset.

Steaming is a euphemism for moving with great speed or vigor.

Steam is a verb referring to the use of steam for cooking.

A good steam refers to the use of a steam room.

Steamy is an adjective that can refer to a steam room, but normally means erotic or sexually arousing.

Steamily is an adverb that refers to doing something in an erotic or sexually arousing fashion.

Steamly is a word I just made up.

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