Date: Summer 2012
Why do engineers often use superheated steam to transfer heat?
There are several reasons:
1. It has high heat content (and heat content is tunable with pressure)
2. It is made of water, which is cheap and readily available (and other than being hot, is pretty safe stuff)
3. It is easy (and cheap) to pump (gas) compared with other heat transfer fluids
4. It readily transfers heat owing to it being a vapor (conduction and convection)
Hope this helps,
Engineers use superheated steam to transfer heat because it is the most efficient means to do so.
Some nuclear reactor designs use liquid sodium to transfer heat, but that is a much more hazardous (corrosive) and expensive process.
We can go down the list of other heat transfer mediums, but steam always comes out to be the most efficient.
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Update: November 2011