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38
votes
5answers
9k views

Why does cold metal seem colder than cold air?

(I apologize for this elementary question. I don't know much about physics.) Let's say that I put a metal pot in the refrigerator for several hours. At this point, I guess, the pot and the air (in ...
16
votes
7answers
12k views

Does an empty refrigerator require more power to stay cold than a full one?

Given that everything else is equal (model of fridge, temperature settings, external temperature, altitude), over a given duration of having the door closed, does it require more electricity to cool ...
9
votes
4answers
12k views

What happens when you heat vodka in a microwave?

Since ethanol has a lower dielectric constant than water would the water heat up and boil before the ethanol? Would the water transfer heat to the ethanol and, since ethanol has a lower boiling point, ...
9
votes
2answers
228 views

How does the sun's surface conduct thermal energy from the convective zone to the corona?

How does the surface of the photosphere conduct thermal energy from the convective zone to the corona, while remaining at such a relatively low temperature itself? It seems odd to me that the ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

LED Thermal Modeling (How to solve heat equation with constant heat source)

I have a mechanical design with LEDs that generate heat. I want to estimate the temperature at the LED junction vs. time, but especially at steady state. Knowing the LED voltage drop and current, I ...
8
votes
6answers
899 views

What's the best strategy to fully fill the fridge with beer bottles and have them all cooled?

I'm having a party. Suppose I'd like to have a fridge full of cold ($6~^\circ\text{C}$ or below) beer bottles, in as short a time frame as possible. The fridge indicates that it is targeting (and ...
8
votes
4answers
12k views

Are specific heat and thermal conductivity related?

Are there any logical relationship between specific heat capacity and thermal conductivity ? I was wondering about this when I was reading an article on whether to choose cast iron or aluminium ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Are two thin blankets significantly warmer than a single thick blanket?

Almost every source I can find online maintains that two 0.5 cm blankets are significantly warmer than a single 1cm blanket due to air trapped between the thin blankets. However, the thermal ...
7
votes
3answers
823 views

Of all the electrical energy used in a home, is there any portion that won't eventually become thermal energy in the home?

Considering all of the appliances that the average home uses--microwaves, light bulbs, dishwashers, refrigerators--is it safe to say that all of the electrical energy in a home will be converted to ...
6
votes
2answers
704 views

When should I take wine out of the fridge - transient heat transfer problem

I am hosting a dinner tonight for which I'll be serving white wine (Riesling to be more specific). Generally white wine is best served chilled (not COLD!) at around ...
5
votes
2answers
274 views

Does diamond dust conduct heat as well as diamond?

Diamond is one of the best thermal conductors you can get. If the diamond is crushed into dust and spread out over a flat surface, but still held fairly compact (for instance in a small petri dish), ...
5
votes
1answer
134 views

How does temperature in a solid sphere change with time when moving through a gas?

I'm interested in the following problem: There is a solid sphere with radius $r$ and mass $m$ at temperature $T_{s0}$. It is moving at velocity $v_s$ through a gas of temperature $T_g$. How does the ...
5
votes
1answer
361 views

What exactly heats a pool of water on a sunny day

On a sunny day an outdoor swimming pool will heat up fairly quickly. My question is, what is the exact mechanism for this and can we put numerical figures on it? Given that water is clear and ...
5
votes
1answer
290 views

How do I measure the temperature of a tiny water droplet?

How do I accurately (+/- 0.1 degrees Celsius or better) measure the temperature of a small (5 to 50 microliter) water droplet without noticeably affecting its temperature? The mass of a thermistor or ...
4
votes
4answers
74 views

What does thermal conductivity actually measure?

Forgive my layman, non-physicist terminology used here. Hopefully I'm not too much of a caveman to express myself properly. What does thermal conductivity actually express? Is it measuring the amount ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is oil a poor conductor of heat?

Why is oil a poor conductor of heat? Does it help in insulation?
4
votes
2answers
169 views

Optical element is heated by laser: is it possible to get oscillating heat distribution?

Imagine that we have thin optical element, which is irradiated by laser. Laser heats element, so there is some heat distribution in element. There is a heat sink through upper and lower element faces ...
4
votes
1answer
121 views

Thermal conductivity affected by electrical current

Does anyone know of any materials whereby the thermal conductivity can be changed by passing an electrical current through the material?
4
votes
2answers
83 views

How does aerogel attain its enormous heat isolation properties?

In a text about properties of aerogel I read some interesting facts - clothes with aerogel proved to be impractical, being far too warm to wear. If you isolated a house with aerogel and lit a candle ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Improving our homemade hot tub design?

My brother and I built a wood burning, convection based, thermal circulating hot-tub. (With and oxyacetylene torch, lots of 1.5" pipe, a brake drum, and a thirty year old jacuzzi). Our design is ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Why water inside a vessel placed in a body of boiling water does not boil?

Imagine a plastic sac filled with water placed in a pan of boiling water. I wonder why the water inside the sac does not boil. The temperature of the water inside the sac should be the same as that of ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Performance of a thermos bottle relative to contents

I'm not a physicist but I majored it at high school (a long time ago) and I study university math. Me and my roommate discussed whether the performance of a Thermos bottle is influenced by how full ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

why does a larger thermal conductivity provide a smaller temperature gradient?

I was thinking about Fourier's Law in heat transfer today and for some reason I am just not understanding the relationships it gives us. Fourier's tells us that if the heat transfer rate is kept ...
3
votes
4answers
553 views

Heat transfer by conduction is not possible for gases?

Today one of my instructor told me that gases cannot have heat transfer thru conduction because molecules are far apart and so it cannot transfer heat,infact the diffusion process of gases transfers ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Why the heat flux vector at a point must be perpendicular to the temperature isothermal surface? Is it a definition or a deduction?

Before the question: I am working on numerical calculation of three dimension parabolic equation that based on Fourier's Law of which I am a little confused. Here comes the law in modern mathematics ...
3
votes
3answers
7k views

The relation between permittivity and conductivity

I am able to measure relative permittivity $\varepsilon_r$ of a fluid, and I want to calculate conductivity of same fluid. Can anyone suggest me how to do this? I found one formula to calculate ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Confused with stress, strain and linear thermal expansion

Four rods A, B, C, D of same length and material but of different radii r, 2r , 3r and 4r respectively are held between two rigid walls. The temperature of all rods is increased by same ...
3
votes
1answer
445 views

What is the time correlation function in the Green-Kubo formulation of ionic current?

I am reading a paper, and I came across the Green-Kubo formulation, where the conductivity $\sigma$ of charged particles is related to the time correlation function of the $z$-component of the ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is the lid of the cookware kept on induction cooker not hot?

Induction cookware cooks food by inducing an electro magnetic field in the ferro-magnetic cookware. Since iron offers a lot of resistance to the current, the current is converted into heat in the ...
3
votes
2answers
141 views

What's the true reason behind thermal expansion?

Thermal expansion is a normal concept everyday. There are 2 explanations: 1, thermal expansion result in stress, then result in deformation 2, thermal expansion result in deformation, then result in ...
3
votes
1answer
254 views

How thermally conductive is a black body?

Does a black body (imagine like a square of solid black-body-matter) thermally conduct well at room temperature?
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do some metal containers not conduct heat, while some do?

Some metal containers such as the Nissan Thermos ones, even if 100 C water is filled inside, the container is still cold to the touch on the outside. It won't be even warm: At the same time, some ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

How fast is heat transferred by conduction?

How fast is heat transferred by conduction? Is there some simple, but quantitative way that starts from some properties of the material (e.g. its thermal conductivity) and makes rough predictions, for ...
3
votes
2answers
288 views

What devices could be taken round dwellings to measure the thermal conductivities of buildings in situ?

Your lateral thinking and knowledge of lab kit could help us solve a tricky measuring problem in building-physics. One of the problems we get in modelling the heat demands of buildings, is getting an ...
3
votes
2answers
174 views

What are the largest thermal gradients achievable in a lab environment?

I am looking for a system capable of creating a gradient of $100\, \mathrm{K}/\mathrm{\mu \textrm{m}}$ on a $30\, \mathrm{\mu}\textrm{m}$ spacing of a system mounted on a Si-N membrane. My so-called ...
2
votes
3answers
583 views

Thermal Conductivity of Metals

My textbook says on conduction: These 'free' electrons can rapidly carry energy from the hotter to the cooler regions of the metal, so metals are generally good conductors of heat. A metal rod at ...
2
votes
2answers
75 views

Energy loss of Earth

How does the Earth lose the energy that it gains from the sun's radiation if it is surrounded by - and in contact with - nothing?
2
votes
2answers
715 views

Does coffee cool faster than tap water?

A friend of mine, based on casual observation, believes that coffee will cool faster than ordinary hot tap water. Being curious about this I have tried to investigate it myself, but I'm not well ...
2
votes
2answers
920 views

Can any solid of low heat capacity release or gain energy slower than another solid of higher heat capacity?

If our sense of contact temperature is influenced by the thermal conductivity of the material: Can any solid material with a low heat capacity exist that feels closer to human body temperature than ...
2
votes
1answer
237 views

Abacus about the thermal expansion of copper

I am currently working on the measurement of the coefficient of thermal expansion of copper. In order to compare my experimental results with theory or experiments made by others, I am looking for ...
2
votes
3answers
639 views

Glass pipe cutting

I want to know how to quickly create the straightest possible breaks in glass pipes I apologise if this is only borderline suitable for a physics forum - I just hope experts with a lot of experience ...
2
votes
1answer
257 views

What is the difference between contact-limited and space-charge-limited charge transport?

I am reading a paper ("Tunable Electrical Conductivity of Individual Graphene Oxide Sheets Reduced at 'Low' Temperatures," Jung, et al. Nano Lett. 2008, 8, 4283-4287) about electrical conductivity in ...
2
votes
1answer
279 views

Heat equation: boundary conditions?

Say we have a bar centered at $x=0$, that is heated. We have the 1D Heat equation which we can solve to find a parabolic temperature profile : $$\kappa \frac{d^2 T}{d x^2}=-\frac{Q}{L S}$$ with ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

When a color LCD/LED display is off it is black, when on it is colored. What color to light is an LCD/LED display

When a modern display using pixels is turned on its colors are different than the black that the screen is actually made up of. When put in light, such as sunlight, does the screen react to the color ...
2
votes
2answers
453 views

How would a change in ambient temp affect a radiator?

I'm curious if you have a radiator or say a block of metal (lets say it's copper since it has the highest thermal conductivity) and on one side is a processor producing heat. At idle the processor ...
2
votes
3answers
336 views

Putting a spoon in boiling tea brings the froth down. Why?

Two questions really: 1. Why does putting a spoon in boiling tea bring the froth down? 2. Also, the tip of spoon (outside tea) never heats up. I cannot imagine that normal air can have so much of a ...
2
votes
1answer
96 views

Copper Bath Keeping the Water Warm

I was watching a home improvement program the other day and the presenter mentioned that a copper bath kept the water warmer for longer. She didn't say what it was being compared with but I have ...
2
votes
1answer
148 views

Calculating new temperature of an object when air temperature changes

I'm trying to calculate the new temperature of an object when the air temperature around it changes, given a period of time. Basically I get periodic readings from an air temperature sensor in a ...
2
votes
0answers
111 views

Is my method of calculating thermal conductivity of a metal wrong?

I am trying to determine the thermal conductivity of pure copper at various temperatures using the Weidemann-Franz Law but for some reason it is not matching up to textbook data. I used the Bloch ...
2
votes
0answers
70 views

In a non-degenerate plasma, why are e-e collision negligible compared to e-ion for thermal conduction?

I'm trying to make some order of magnitude estimates of heat transfer in stars - to better understand 1) why conduction is said to be negligible (for non-degenerate matter) and 2) when convection ...