Covers the study of (mostly homogeneous) macroscopic systems from a heat/energy/entropy point of view. Maybe combine with [tag:statistical-mechanics].

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481 views

Comparison between isobaric, isothermal and adiabatic expansion

Please check if my understandings of these terms are right because they are a bit confusing to me. For all three types of expansions, a change in volume means work is done by the system to the ...
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21 views

An interesting question on the mass of a droplet of liquid experiencing the Leidenfrost Effect

Background and Inspiration: I have seen numerous demonstrations of the leidenfrost effect, both on the internet and in my mother's kitchen. But I started wondering about a general case after having a ...
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7answers
2k views
+50

How can it be that the beginning universe had a high temperature and a low entropy at the same time?

The Big Bang theory assumes that our universe started from a very/infinitely dense and extremely/infinitely hot state. But on the other side, it is often claimed that our universe must have been ...
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8 views

Entropy change of mixing

$dU = Tds - PdV$ definition of internal energy $dU)_{V} = TdS$ internal energy change at constant volume $-C_{v} \Delta T = T_{1} \Delta S$ integrating, assuming that $C_{V}$ is invariant through ...
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1answer
579 views

Physics of the electric hot plate

For an electronics experiment, I began wondering about the electric hot-plates (specifically the temperature dependence over time). If I were to measure the given temperature over time, I assume that ...
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1answer
12 views

What is an expression/physical law that relates high frequency thermal fluctuations to gas pressure?

When a gas is compressed the 'ideal gas law' can predict what the increase in gas temperature will be. But that's just a mean temperature, right? At a quantum level the frequency of molecular ...
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1answer
79 views

Why does Air Pressure not Matter in Phase Equilibrium?

So long as we are in the ideal gas range, the presence of air does not affect the liquid/solid-vapour equilibrium in any way (such as equilibrium vapour pressure, melting point etc.). Is there a ...
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63 views

Does Expanding Universe conflict with the Thermodynamics 3rd Law? [duplicate]

I know that thermodynamics 3rd law states that if a system in equilibrium is at zero temperature, its entropy is minimum. Expansion of the universe made a transition from radiation dominated era ...
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1answer
34 views

Efficiency of a real engine

Can anyone tell me what is wrong with the following argument? Consider a Carnot engine and an engine $X$ whose efficiencies are $\eta_c$ and $\eta_x$ respectively. Let us assume that ...
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1answer
67 views

Entropy - does Heat Death occur in a closed system

Does heat death occur in a closed system? (Assuming you can theoretically have some sort of "closed system".
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3answers
270 views

Distinguishable, Indistinguishable Paramagnetic Ideal Gas

In the canonical ensemble, the partition function for an ideal gas is given by: $$\frac{Z}{N!}$$ The factor $N!$ accounts for the indistinguishability of the particles of the ideal gas. What ...
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19 views

Refrigeration Apparatus flow meter location [on hold]

What would be the reasoning for locating the flow meter in it's location in the following refrigeration apparatus (from a thermodynamics perspective):
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1answer
424 views

Considerations and questions for a DIY heat pipe; how to choose a working fluid?

I plan to build a DIY heat pipe! For more info on what a heat pipe is, see Wikipedia. I would like to use it to cool a desktop graphics card I have. I am having trouble deciding how to choose the ...
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1answer
88 views

Simple estimation of the critical temperature of water

I'm trying to develop fermi estimation skills and I came up with a question for which I don't even know where to start from. Here goes: Is it possible to estimate the critical temperature (say in ...
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1answer
24 views

in which part heat travels faster

A room has one wall made of concrete, one wall made of copper, and one wall made of steel. All of the walls are the same size and at the same temperature of 20°C. Which wall feels coldest to the ...
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4answers
2k views

Why the breath sometimes warm and sometimes cold? (2 different explanations!)

If you blow air against your hand with your mouth open, you feel warm breath. If you do with with your lips closed except for a small opening, you feel cold breath. One explanation from here says ...
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1answer
33 views

Why is my breath hot when i open my mouth all the way, but cold if I blow like a whistle? [duplicate]

I observed this as when I want to cool my soup I blow like a whistle and when I want to warm my hands I open my mouth more as my breath is warmer now.
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2answers
53 views

An equation to describe a process of heating one room using hotter air from another room

There are two rooms completly isolated from the outer world (a closed system, no heat losses). They are connected with each other through a ventilation tube. Temperature in room A is 32 degrees ...
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5answers
2k views

Why does my fireplace shoot flames out the front until I open my backdoor?

I have a natural gas fireplace with fake logs in it. I open the flue, turn on the gas for a couple seconds, and throw a match in. The flames kind of go up and out of the flue, but most of the flames ...
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0answers
33 views

Thermodynamics - Efficiency of an engine [on hold]

I am taking a mathematical physics course and got stuck on this rather simple problem Consider a thermodynamic cycle of monoatomic gas () I want to calculate efficiency of this cycle I know that ...
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2answers
122 views

How does the second law of thermodynamics follow from low entropy of early universe?

One of the explanations of the second law of thermodynamics is that it goes back to the low entropy in the early universe (How do you prove the second law of thermodynamics from statistical ...
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1answer
45 views

Is the gas constant really a constant?

For ideal gases we have $$ C_p-C_v=R $$ now the left hand side of this equation is temperature dependent, so how is it possible that gas constant $R$ is temperature independent?
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3answers
170 views

Does placing a cold bottle next to an incubator cool the incubator through convection or radiation?

Context for question: My girlfriend who is studying to be a nurse asked me to explain the difference between radiation and convection in context of the above question. My answer: Radiation is the ...
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0answers
24 views

Is using molar terms with maxwells relations misguided?

My professor wants me to do a lot of derivations using maxwells relations. One of the things he wants me to prove is that from the Van der Waals equation of state one can say: $\Big(\frac{\partial ...
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3answers
13k views

Why does adding solutes to pure water lower the the specific heat?

We found that water with salt, sugar, or baking soda dissolved in it cools faster than pure water. Water has a very high specific heat; how do these solutes lower it? We heated a beaker (300ml) of ...
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2answers
50 views

The 1st law of thermodynamics

If a gas expands adiabatically will the work done be positive or negative? I think it will be positive as $\delta W=p dV$ and we have a positive sign due to the work done by the gas is positive as it ...
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1answer
121 views

Rayleigh-Taylor Instability dependence on acceleration direction

I'm trying to bolster my understanding of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability, and I've gotten stuck on the point of which fluid (more or less dense) is being accelerated into the other. Cases of uniform ...
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1answer
99 views

Heat balance: how to obtain T(t) with energy in the form u(T(t))

I have the heat balance equation for a cooling case in the form: $$\frac{dU(T(t))}{dt}=-J$$ with $U$: energy (J) $T$: temperature (K) $t$: time (s) $J$: heat flux leaving the system (W) I have ...
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7answers
888 views

Entropy increase vs Conservation of information (QM)

Unitarity of quantum mechanics prohibits information destruction. On the other hand, the second law of thermodynamics claims entropy to be increasing. If entropy is to be thought of as a measure of ...
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2answers
65 views

Are black holes hot?

If no light can escape black holes, in my mind they would act as a greenhouse, collecting radiation from the stars or CMB or anything. Or is all this energy just absorbed by the black hole?
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1answer
159 views

What is the fastest way to heat my car?

During the winter months I often have to drive in a cold car and I want to warm up as fast as possible. What is the best setting to put the air on in order to warm up the entire cabin in the least ...
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2answers
87 views

How to use the first law of thermodynamics for simple mechanical systems?

I'm confused about what exactly is $Q$ and $U$ and their signs. Consider a block initially having some kinetic energy which we stop and we want to find by how much amount its temperature increases. ...
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2answers
1k views

Where does information go if thermodynamic death?

Often read that until Hawking the black holes were introducing a problem with information. Allegedly information should be unable disappear, while this was happening in classic black holes. What ...
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100 views

How can Maxwell's Demon erase information while a black hole can not?

It is stated, that information can't disappear even in black holes. On the other hand, it is stated, that mystic beings, like Maxwell demons, can easily erase any information if they just pay with ...
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13 views

Kettle barbecue thermodynamics question

I have an old kettle barbecue which lost its legs to rust. I then placed the dome on top of a truck's brake drum and throttled the airflow by mounting the brake drum on a plate with holes drilled in ...
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81 views

Does This Video Really Prove that Energy Conservation Can Be Violated? [closed]

I've discussed the following video elsewhere: http://youtu.be/YBMUzoUJ7ww and am more and more coming to the conclusion that the video shows for the first time scientifically sound proof that ...
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1answer
91 views

The Big Crunch and perceived entropy

I'm aware of the Big Crunch theory, that once at capacity, the universe may collapse in on itself. Hawking once theorized that time may go backwards during this crunch. So, that got me thinking: how ...
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1answer
55 views

The fly and the sphere of iron

When I was a child, I read something like the following in a book whose name I have now forgotten (I tried to find the original quote on the web, but although there are some similar passages the ...
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1answer
30 views

When will internal energy change?

If a gas expands irreversibly and adiabatically from $(V_i, p_f+const)$ to $(V_f,p_f)$ will the internal energy change? I have two thoughts: 1) Yes because $\Delta E= \Delta Q + \Delta W$ always ...
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2answers
35 views

What is the cause of the flash of light and debris immediately above this explosion?

First - the footage of the explosion in question: http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/homemade-diamond-high-speed/ More specifically, about 5 seconds in, I'm speaking of the ...
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73 views

On Thermodynamics of Spontaneity of the Reduction-Oxidation Chemical Reactions

According to the first and second law for a closed system containing different chemicals we have \begin{align} &\delta Q - \delta W = dU = T dS - p dV +\sum_i \mu_i d N_i\\ ...
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2answers
37 views

Can an object appropriately isolated from its surroundings become colder than its surroundings?

Consider a sealed box, well-insulated on all sides, except for the lid which is transparent to infrared. An object is placed inside the box and the box is evacuated (purpose being to thermally isolate ...
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1answer
2k views

When heat is applied to the top of a stack of pennies, why does the bottom penny melt first?

I just watched this video where a blow torch is used on the top of a stack of pennies. I'd like to know why the bottom penny melted first.
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23 views

Melting icicles

If I break off the bottom half of an icicle, will the top half melt faster?     ...
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2answers
579 views

Is it possible to disprove water memory with an entropy argument?

Water memory was a controversial experiment claiming to provide an explanation supporting homeopathy. The results were largely dismissed as being tainted by experimental error. One possible mechanism ...
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1answer
77 views

Does radiating heat to outer space through the atmospheric transparency window have any impact on heat loss?

I was reading this article: Passive radiative cooling below ambient air temperature under direct sunlight The authors are improving upon the age-old idea of reflecting incoming sunlight while ...
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4k views
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143 views

Is thermodynamic equilibrium static or dynamic?

Suppose, two parts of a system $A$ & $B$. They were at varying temperatures and hadn't achieved mechanical equilibrium. After the relaxation time, $A$ & $B$ were at thermal and mechanical ...
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30 views

When did the casual definition of the three laws of thermodynamics first appear? [closed]

Who is credited as the source, and when were the laws first stated in this form? (1st Law) You can't win. (2nd Law) You can't break even. (3rd Law) You can't get out of the game.
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38 views

Does $\delta W=pdV$ hold for non-ideal gases

I have that for quasistatic processes, $$ \delta W= \textbf{f}\cdot d\textbf{x} $$ so for a gas $\delta W=pdV$. Does this only hold ideal gases or will it hold for van der waal's gas?