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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Does it make sense to have a theory of thermodynamics about coldness?

When someone comes in from the cold to a heated room, it sometimes feels like there is coldness radiating away from that person. Is there a sense in which we can say that coldness radiates similarly ...
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1answer
427 views

Using heat energy to increase temperature

It's been a long time since I studied thermodynamics in college years ago, but I was just wondering this: I know that a large bathtub of 10 C water has more heat energy than a small cup of 20 C ...
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2answers
732 views

Limit on geothermal energy that could be extracted before the earth's magnetic field collapsed?

This is more of a theoretical thought-experiment question. Basically, how much geothermal energy can we extract before the loss of the magnetic field makes it a terribly bad idea? Will the ...
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4answers
3k views

Can heat be transfered via magnetic field in a vacuum?

Say you want to store hot coffee in a container surrounded by a vacuum. To remove all sources of conductive energy loss the container is suspended in the vacuum by a magnetic field and does not have a ...
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2answers
446 views

Specific heat and temperature

This is a two-part question... Firstly, models of the specific heat capacity $C$ (i.e. Debye, Einstein) in relation to the temperature $T$ give $C$ as steadily increasing with $T$. I assume that the ...
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75 views

Resonance in Benzene violating Second Law of Thermodynamics

In chemistry a few months ago we were taught the resonant structure of benzene, that states the double bonds upon the six carbon atoms flicker back and forth between the two possible states it can be ...
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2answers
329 views

Existence of gusts of wind, an anomaly?

Enthusiast + Student, not a pro, so pardon my ignorance. How can wind possibly flow in gusts? The way I understand it, a gust is a pocket of air which hits you at slightly higher speed. But how ...
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89 views

What is thermal radiation? How does it move through space?

Assume that by some mysterious(at the lack of a better word) way I was able to make a bonfire on the moon and was able to sit next to it without a space suit. I will not be able to feel the heat form ...
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96 views

Is Boltzmann distribution contradicting with the fundamental assumption of statistical thermodynamics?

In equilibrium statistical physics the fundamental assumption of statistical thermodynamics states that the occupation of any microstate is equally probable (i.e. $p_i=1/\Omega, S=-k_B\sum p_i\,{\rm ...
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162 views

What would a graph of temperature increase of a cup of water in a microwave look like?

My lunch had been in the microwave for a minute or so, and I was wondering if I took it out 10 seconds early, would the amount of temperature it increased in that 10 seconds be more significant, less ...
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730 views

Glass tends to be cold?

In winter, our glass window serves as a separator of coldness outside and warmth inside our room. We know that the window feels cold when we touch it. Since the air temperature is different in ...
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3answers
256 views

How to combat the black-body temperature of an object?

I'm trying to model the temperature of a large spacecraft for a space colony simulation game I'm working on. In another question, I checked my calculations for the steady-state black-body temperature ...
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4answers
148 views

Why work $W$ and heat $Q$ are different concepts?

I understand heat as the flow of energy (through radiation, convection or conduction) from one body to another. When I think about conduction (for example) I visualize particles that jiggle a lot ...
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3answers
259 views

Mixing mild and cold water, which one to pour first?

Suppose for example that a person like me likes his water in-between. A bit colder than the room temperature but not very cold. If you have a water dispenser that pours rtp water and cold water, which ...
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1answer
627 views

How fast do molecules move in objects?

I guess it depends on the heat or the type of the material but can you give some examples or formulas to calculate it ? The best example would be the average speed of the air molecules (all types in ...
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2answers
220 views

Any difference between thermodynamic double-derivative and derivative “at constant” value?

Reading about the Maxwell relations has left me confused, and I want a basic sanity check regarding the notation. The Wikipedia article breezes over the following switch of notation without really ...
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1answer
113 views

Dimensional Analysis : Thermodynamics

I was coming across some notes online for phase transitions. In one of the places, the author has written the Claussius-Clayperon equation in this form, $$ \frac{d(ln P)}{d(ln T)} = \frac{T\Delta ...
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2answers
177 views

Why is a vacuum cleaner not as good heater as an electric radiator?

I've read this question and answer: How efficient is an electric heater? , but still don't understand. If I have an electric radiator it heats the room with 1000 Watts of power. And I feel the room's ...
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3answers
382 views

The cooling curve of tin during solidification

I'm going to measure the freezing point of tin by recording the cooling curve. It sounds like a dull experiment because all I have to do is to heat up the tin, wait for it to cool, and the computer ...
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1answer
546 views

How does heat energy travel in space?

How does the heat energy from the Sun reach us on the Earth? Since the kinetic energy of an atom is the amount of heat energy and there is no matter in space, how does heat from the Sun reach us?
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2answers
159 views

Is an ice globe the worst possible way to cool a drink (with ice)?

Given an alcohol solution and a mass of ice in whatever shape you like, is shaping it into a sphere the worst possible way to cool your drink without diluting it? If the ice starts off at a sub-zero ...
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2answers
376 views

Most efficient type of heat pump

Can I make a heat pump beat the Carnot efficiency? Why is the Carnot process the most efficient one? If I have a heatpump that is sphere shaped, and cascaded in layers like a onion can I beat Carnot ...
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1answer
452 views

Intuitive description of what a “Fermi Gas” really is?

This question is based in the area of material equations of state. I am wanting to know what a Fermi Gas really is. I have searched in several places for a decent description, but I have not found ...
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4answers
783 views

Shock speed in air/vacuum shock tube

Some of you are probably aware of What If, xkcd's blog about interesting physics problems. One episode, Glass Half Empty, concerns itself with what would happen if a glass of water is half water, ...
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2k views

Why did the microwave oven only heat my coffe half as much as expected?

A sticker on my microwave oven states its output effect to be 750W, which is 180 calories per second. This means that heating 250g of water by one degree celsius would take 250/180 = 1.4s. Now, my ...
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1answer
1k views

How much oxygen would be consumed on a 1 cm squared surface which is on fire?

I'm trying to figure out how much oxygen the Human Torch produces when he is on fire. I figure if I knew how much oxygen on average (per second?) is consumed by a 1 cm squared surface which is ...
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1answer
782 views

How do I find average temperature given a temperature distribution?

I was told to find the temperature distribution of a wire with a current going through it. So I found $$T(x)=T_{\infty}-\frac{\dot{q}}{km^{2}}[\frac{cosh(mx)}{cosh(mL)}-1]$$ I need to find the ...
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1answer
986 views

How does heat transfer between two atoms in solid material?

Been looking at heat equation and it's derivation, according to Wikipedia it uses 2 mathematical assumptions. My problem is that although it all seems OK, what is the physics of heat transfer in ...
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2k views

In summer are the upper storey flats more hot or the lower storey flats?

I have often heard neighbours talking things like in a multi storied apartment, the upper flats are more hot in summer then lower flats (or vice versa?) and similarly for some comparison in winter? ...
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3answers
58 views

Different materials have different temperatures?

Why do two materials, under the same weather, have different temperatures? I have a small clue about it. For example, iron and wood supposed under the sun's radiation, and if we touch both of them, ...
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1answer
101 views

The energy contribution of a frequency at finite temperature

This is from a paper I'm reading: Since each frequency contributes $\hbar \omega/2$ of energy (or at finite temperature, $\hbar \omega /2 \coth(\hbar\omega/2kT)$), we can find the energies for the ...
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59 views

Violently shaking object

Would violently shaking something cause a temperature change? For example, if a container of water was shook violently enough; would it be possible to make it boil?
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1answer
58 views

Can sound frequency create more ideal conditions for fire?

You may have seen the recent story of a device that engineers claim can extinguish flames using sound frequency. An older article loosely explains the theory behind how this works: Sound travels ...
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1answer
77 views

Difference between collisional and collisionless Boltzmann equations?

Reading an excellent answer, I've read about there are different Boltzmann statistics for a collision-less system (f.e. stars in a galaxy) and in a system with collisions (f.e. gas in a closed box). ...
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1answer
130 views

Blackbody radiation in thermally inhomogeneous environment

The power radiated by the backbody is according to Stefan-Boltzmann law $$ P = \sigma \varepsilon A (T^4-T_{env}^{4} ).$$ Is the parameter $T_{env}$ supposed to be only the temperature in the near ...
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2answers
136 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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1answer
133 views

Death by entropy

An idea struck me as I was walking to class today. According to Wikipedia, entropy is defined as the number of specific ways in which a thermodynamic system may be arranged, commonly understood as a ...
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132 views

Why won't the efficiency of a heat pump increase when $T_\mathrm{cold}$ decreases?

Why won't the efficiency of a heat pump increase when $T_\mathrm{cold}$ decreases? In the carnot cycle, efficiency increases when $T_\mathrm{cold}$ gets colder and $T_\mathrm{hot}$ gets hotter. Are ...
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2answers
189 views

Inconsistency between Helmholtz and Gibbs Free Energies

I know that if the Helmholtz free energy, $A$, is expressed as a function $A\sim A(N,V,T)$, then this function contains all thermodynamic information about the system. For instance, the pressure of ...
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163 views

why are the square of the components of velocity equal?

In Principles of Physics by Resnick,Halliday,Walker, when evaluating the $v_{rms}$ ,they first found $p = \frac{nM(v_x)^2}{V}$ & then substiuted $(v_{avg})^2 = \frac{1}{3} .v^2$ where $v^2 = ...
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224 views

Who invented the perfume bottle thought experiment?

A common thought experiment used to explain the second law of thermodynamics, the "arrow of time", etc. is perfume escaping from an opened perfume bottle; the perfume is likely to diffuse into the ...
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2answers
99 views

Is enthalpy also valid for liquids and solids?

The definition of enthalpy is $$H=E+PV,$$ is it only valid for (ideal) gas? As this naturally comes from the first law of thermodynamics, $$dE=dQ+PdV$$ for a enclosed system of gas. Can we talk ...
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1answer
203 views

When Fire meets Water

To preface, I am not a scientific mind, but a writer looking for some validity to a possible scene. That being said, please forgive me! In my scene, huge masses of fire are raining from the sky and ...
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3answers
231 views

Intuitive explaination for why higher engine compression ratio is more efficient?

Intuitively to me it seems likes increasing compression ratio would require more work to compress the gasses before ignition, so you'd just end up getting back what you put in - like a spring. What am ...
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6answers
366 views

Extracting heat energy without a heat engine

Is it possible to extract the molecular kinetic energy from a system directly (without the use of a heat engine / temperature gradient) and convert that to another form of energy, such as electricity, ...
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2answers
335 views

Evaporative cooling in a tropical environment

I am an architect and am trying to understand the effects of evaporative cooling in a humid climate for buildings. I would like to use the example of a zeer pot for my question. I have read ...
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2answers
274 views

Is every material able to exist in every state of matter?

I was shocked while reading Kittel's "Introduction to Solid State Physics", that the solid state of noble gases is a well described and makes one of the fundamental achievements of solid state ...
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137 views

Is tea weaker if you make it in a half full cup of water?

Imagine you put a tea bag in a cup and half fill it with boiling water. Then after one minute you take the tea bag out and then fill the cup up to fill with hot water. Will the tea be weaker than if ...
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5k views

How much energy in form of heat does a human body emit?

How much energy in form of heat does a human body emit at rest level?
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554 views

Entropy $dQ=TdS$ and Work $dW = -pdV$ conditions?

What are the conditions in order for the equations: Entropy $dQ = TdS$ and Work $dW = -p dV$ to work? I think for $dQ = T dS$, it must be a reversible process? But for $dW = -p dV$, shouldn't it ...