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Amanda just poured herself a cup of hot coffee to get her day started. She took her first sip and nearly burned her tongue. Since she didn't have much time to sit and wait for it to cool down, she put an ice cube in her coffee and stirred it with a metal spoon. After a moment, she felt the spoon warm up, but when she took another sip, the coffee was cooler. She was pretty sure, the ice added cold to her coffee, and the coffee added heat to her spoon.

Would you agree?

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Seems like a 'yes-no' question to me. I believe that you could have put either, and explain why you felt it was that way, or put both and say for each why you would say so. –  Jerry Apr 10 '13 at 16:13

2 Answers 2

Yes. The fluid is in contact with the spoon, and because the former is hotter than the latter, heat is transferred, resulting in the spoon getting warmer. About the ice cube: technically "adding cold" does not make much sense. The ice cube will melt due to heat transfer from the hotter to the colder medium, a process which cools the coffee. Furthermore, heat is transferred from coffee to water, also resulting in a cool-down.

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The most important thing about feeling is that its relative and depends on the temperature of sensor point on skin. That's the reason we need thermometer to measure temperature with which everyone could agree.

Energy transfer is involved here, but it has very little to do with Amanda's feeling. Amanda's tongue and mouth was at high temperature due to initial sip which caused her to feel next sip cooler which was really cool due to addition of ice.

In case of spoon, spoon can't get hotter because heat of coffee (and some of heat of spoon) was consumed in melting ice. But, Amanda felt the spoon warmer because her fingers were relatively cold due to ice touch.

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