Tagged Questions

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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Are internal combustion engines more efficient on cold days?

According to Carnot efficiency formula $\eta=1-T_C/T_H$, can we say that the engines of cars are more efficient on cold days where $T_C$ (the temperature of the surroundings) is less than on hot days?
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Prove that negative absolute temperatures are actually hotter than positive absolute temperatures

Could someone provide me with a mathematical proof of why, a system with an absolute negative Kelvin temperature (such that of a spin system) is hotter than any system with a positive temperature (in ...
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How is it possible that it can get hotter in the car than it is outside?

The Law of Thermodynamics says that two bodies will eventually have equal temperatures. How is it possible that when you leave your car in the sun, it gets hotter in the car than it is outside? Why ...
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Using nuclear devices to terraform Mars: Elon Musk's nuclear proposal? [closed]

Elon Musk has recently suggested Using nuclear devices to terraform Mars. In the past, comet related ideas were mooted, but Musk seems, to me anyway, to be a man in a hurry and perhaps his idea has ...
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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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Physical meaning of Legendre transformation

I would like to know the physical meaning of the Legendre transformation, if there is any? I've used it in thermodynamics and classical mechanics and it seemed only a change of coordinates?
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The unreasonable effectiveness of the partition function

In a first course on statistical mechanics the partition function is normally introduced as the normalisation for the probability of a particle being in a particular energy level. p_j=\frac{1}{Z}\...
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How do you prove $S=-\sum p\ln p$?

How does one prove the formula for entropy $S=-\sum p\ln p$? Obviously systems on the microscopic level are fully determined by the microscopic equations of motion. So if you want to introduce a law ...
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Why does boiling water in the microwave make a cup of tea go weird?

When I boil water in the kettle, it makes a nice cup of tea. Sometimes I need to use a microwave because a kettle isn't available. I boil the water in the mug and it looks pretty normal, but when I ...
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Can Lee-Yang zeros theorem account for triple point phase transition?

Now the prominent Lee-Yang theorem (or Physical Review 87, 410, 1952) has almost become a standard ingredient of any comprehensive statistical mechanics textbook. If the volume tends to infinity, ...
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What is the status of Mpemba effect investigations?

There is this puzzling thing that is called Mpemba effect: paradoxically, warm (35°C) water freezes faster than cold (5°C) water. As a physisist, I've been asked about it several times already. And I ...
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What exactly is heat?

Is it energy? Is it energy per unit volume? Is it energy per unit time i.e power? What is it?
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Does entropy measure extractable work?

Entropy has two definitions, which come from two different branches of science: thermodynamics and information theory. Yet, they both are thought to agree. Is it true? Entropy, as seen from ...
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Symbols of derivatives

What is the exact use of the symbols $\partial$, $\delta$ and $\mathrm{d}$ in derivatives in physics? How are they different and when are they used? It would be nice to get that settled once and for ...
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Entropy is…disorder?

As I read somewhere, it said that the universe is heading toward disorder a.k.a entropy increasing. Now as far as I know from the second law of thermodynamics it states that entropy is indeed ...
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Why does a water drop on a hot plate at 150°C evaporate faster than on a plate at 200°C?

I recently read that: A drop of water landing on a hot plate at 150°C (300°F) evaporates in a few seconds. A drop of water landing on a hot plate at 200°C (400°F) survives a whole minute. How ...
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Energy in bolognese reduction - lid on or off?

Generally, to let my bolognese thicken, I leave the lid off in order to "let water vapor escape." I am however distracted from enjoying the taste because I'm having doubts that my physical reasoning ...
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Why are expressions such as $\operatorname{ln}T$ used in thermodynamics where $T$ is not dimensionless?

In all thermodynamics texts that I have seen, expressions such as $\operatorname{ln}T$ and $\operatorname{ln}S$ are used, where $T$ is temperature and $S$ is entropy, and also with other thermodynamic ...
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Intuitive understanding of the entropy equation

In thermodynamics, entropy is defined as $d S = \dfrac{\delta q_{\rm }}{T}$. This definition guarantees that heat will transfer from hot to cold, which is the second law of thermodynamics. But, why ...
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Is there any proof for the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

Are there any analytical proofs for the 2nd law of thermodynamics? Or is it based entirely on empirical evidence?
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Why does the air we blow/exhale out from our mouths change from hot to cold depending on the size of the opening we make with our mouth?

Why does the air we blow/exhale out from our mouths change from hot to cold depending on the size of the opening we make with our mouth? It's not just a subtle difference, but significant in my ...
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List of known universality classes

I am working with RG and have a pretty good idea of how it works. However I have noticed that even though the idea of universality class is very general and makes it possible to classify critical ...
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Melting diamond and cool down as diamond

Is it possible to melt diamond? And if possible while let it cool will it became diamond again?
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Does hot air really rise?

"Heat rises" or "warm air rises" is a widely used phrase (and widely accepted phenomenon). Does hot air really rise? Or is it simply displaced by colder (denser) air pulled down by gravity?
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0 Kelvin body moving

As many books say: Temperature is (proportional, almost, etc...) average kinetic energy of particles. My question is this. "Suppose there is a body somewhere in empty space which moves at ...
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What is the difference between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics?

What is the difference between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics?
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Why is there more steam after a pot of water *stops* boiling?

I have a pot of vigorously boiling water on a gas stove. There's some steam, but not alot. When I turn off the gas, the boiling immediately subsides, and a huge waft of steam comes out. This is ...
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Does the Moon's core still contain significant heat?

On earth, using earth-sheltering techniques can significantly reduce the temperature fluctuations on a structure. Would the same statement be true as well on the Moon? Does the Moon's core still ...
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Why aren't gas planets and stars fuzzy? [duplicate]

The edge of Jupiter looks very sharp. Even more bothersome, the edge of the sun looks sharp, aside from kind of a soup of particles floating above it. The sun's surface has an incredibly low ...
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Does the heat equation violate causality?

I've ran across the idea that, besides simply writing partial differential equations in covariant form, they need to be hyperbolic with all characteristic speeds less than the speed of light. A ...
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What is entropy really?

On this site, change in entropy is defined as the amount of energy dispersed divided by the absolute temperature. But I want to know: What is the definition of entropy? Here, entropy is defined as ...
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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 ...
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Why would the lack of air in a mine in an asteroid prevent you from flooding it?

In Isaac Asimov's I, Robot novel, two scientists stationed in an asteroid where mining activities are performed say "We could flood the mines, if this weren't an airless asteroid" when considering ...
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Home experiment to estimate Avogadro's number?

How to get an approximation of Avogadro or Boltzmann constant through experimental means accessible by an hobbyist ?
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Is a world with constant/decreasing entropy theoretically impossible?

I'm not 110% sure exactly what I mean by this question. It was sparked by a friend who said he wished the law of entropy were reversed, so he wouldn't have to worry about cleaning the bathroom. ...
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What exactly is the difference between advection and convection?

After reading Wikipedia articles on advection and convection, I still cannot determine whether there is a consensus on a difference between these two terms. Sometimes, the term convection seems to ...
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Will drinking ice cold water and eating cold food cause weight loss (over a period of time)? [closed]

A friend of mine has the idea that drinking cold water and eating cold food will assist them in losing weight. The core temperature of a human body is 37$^{\circ}$ C. If they drink water, at a ...
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If your hair was on fire and you entered a vacuum, could you outlast the fire?

Let's say a person's hair was on fire and suddenly we (instantaneously) pumped all the air out of the (sealed) room, then after time period X we put all the air back. Is there an X such that we will ...
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Why does ice form on bridges even if the temperature is above freezing?

So with this "arctic blast" continuing, I've noticed that for my area, the temperature drops below freezing just long enough to cause freezing rain, but then the sun comes out and the temperature ...
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Why does water feel cooler than air?

My first assumption was based on "evaporation causes cooling" but I realized that it is not the case as it is cooler even if I am submerged under it. Are all liquids generally cooler than air ? Just ...
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Why do turbine engines work?

I know roughly how a turbine engine (let's say a gas turbine producing no jet thrust) is supposed to work: The compressor forces fresh air into a combustion chamber, where it reacts with fuel to ...
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Do chemical bonds have mass?

When an exothermic reaction occurs, the energy in the chemical bonds of the reactants is partially transferred to the chemical bonds of the products. The remaining energy is released as heat. For ...
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Does the scientific community consider the Loschmidt paradox resolved? If so what is the resolution?

Does the scientific community consider the Loschmidt paradox resolved? If so what is the resolution? I have never seen dissipation explained, although what I have seen a lot is descriptions of ...
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Would wearing clothing that is black on the inside and white on the outside keep you cooler?

The Straight Dope ran an explanation of why nomads often wear black clothing - it absorbs heat better from the body. On the other hand, white clothing reflects sunlight better. Is it possible to get ...
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Why does the tongue stick to a metal pole in the winter?

since the Christmas season is here, I would like to ask a question about the movie, "A Christmas Story." In one of the subplots of the movie, Ralphie's friends were betting each other that their ...
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How hot does the tip of a pencil get while writing?

When writing with a pencil, there seems to be quite a lot of friction - which seems like it would induce heat. How hot would the tip of a #2 pencil get writing on normal copy paper?
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How long would it take for a smelly object to evaporate?

This question is a follow on from this deleted one: http://physics.stackexchange.com/q/177894/26076 as I was writing what I thought to be a valid physics answer to it. Version 1 of this question ...
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Mechanics + Thermodynamics: Bouncing Ball

In preparation for an exam, I'm revisiting old exam questions. This one seems neat, but also quite complicated: A soccer ball with Radius $R=11cm$ is inflated at a pressure of $P =9 \times 10^4 Pa$...