Can Water Be Compressed?

Can Water Be Compressed?

Water is one of the most abundant and necessary resources on our planet. It has an extraordinary ability to remain in a constant volume regardless of its temperature or pressure. But is this property true for all liquids? Can water be compressed?

The Short Answer

Yes, water can be compressed, but only by a tiny amount. When pressure is applied to it, the molecules of water are pushed closer together reducing its volume. This process is known as liquid compressibility and is responsible for the fact that when water reaches its maximum pressure, its volume decreases by a mere 0.000001%.

Compressor vs Expander

In order for water to be compressed it needs to be subjected to a process which is known as condensation. Condensation involves applying pressure to the water molecules, while expanding them causes the opposite reaction and is known as evaporation. This process of compression and expansion also affects other liquids.

When Condensation Works

Condensation can work to effectively compress water when the water is at a low temperature and the pressure is applied from one end. In this case, the molecules at the other side of the container will be pushed together, and the volume of the water will be reduced.

What Are Some Practical Uses?

Condensing water can be useful in a variety of applications. It has been used to power steam engines, power hydraulic systems and to manufacture refrigerator components. However, its main use is in cooling and air conditioning systems, where condensation is used to make cold air.


In short, yes water can be compressed in certain conditions. While it won’t ever be compressed to the same extent as other liquids, it can be made to take up less space. It has been used for centuries in a variety of applications and continues to be a vital part of the world around us.

Key points:

  • Water can be compressed, although by a tiny amount.
  • Water needs to be subjected to a process known as condensation.
  • Condensation is used in a variety of practical applications.