Science, Tech, Math › Science Definition of Boiling Point in Chemistry The boiling point is affected by atmospheric pressure Share Flipboard Email Print This is boiling water. The temperature of the water may be at its boiling point or above it. David Murray and Jules Selmes / Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemical Laws Basics Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated May 07, 2019 The boiling point is the temperature at which the vapor pressure of a liquid equals the external pressure surrounding the liquid. Therefore, the boiling point of a liquid depends on atmospheric pressure. The boiling point becomes lower as the external pressure is reduced. As an example, at sea level the boiling point of water is 100 C (212 F), but at 6,600 feet the boiling point is 93.4 C (200.1 F). Boiling vs. Evaporation Boiling differs from evaporation. Evaporation is a surface phenomenon that occurs at any temperature in which molecules at the liquid edge escape as vapor because there is not enough liquid pressure on all sides to hold them. In contrast, boiling affects all molecules in the liquid, not just those on the surface. Because molecules within the liquid change to vapor, bubbles form. Types of Boiling Points Boiling point is also known as saturation temperature. Sometimes boiling point is defined by the pressure at which the measurement was taken. In 1982, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC0 defined the standard boiling point as the temperature of boiling under 1 bar of pressure. The normal boiling point or atmospheric boiling point is the temperature at which the vapor pressure of the liquid equals the pressure at sea level (1 atmosphere).