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ie do a couple of molecules with more energy bang out a volume in the liquid where molecular attraction is overcome and the energetic molecules can move at random? where can I find out more about this subject?

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Just for clarification, You speak about steam bubbles, I suppose? More on this subject You will find in a glass of beer or some other fizz drink, gas bubbles originate under the very same laws as steam bubbles do, but watching is much easier and some side effects can be rather funny... –  Georg Nov 30 '11 at 19:24
    
The topic of phase changes is large part of thermodynamics (and one of the ones I find most interesting). You might find it useful to look up words. like "nucleation" "supercooled", and "superheated". –  dmckee Nov 30 '11 at 20:18
    
Fun fact: Lausanne University in Switzerland has an entire course on bubble physics. –  Lagerbaer Dec 1 '11 at 1:54
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