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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What is the difference between mechanical and thermodynamic pressure?

To start with I know thermodynamics deals with processes at equilibrium. Hence the thermodynamic pressure should most likely be the pressure of a fluid at equilibrium. I'm not sure if a fluid flow ...
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493 views

How do you explain the fact that when air expands freely into an evacuated chamber from a constant pressure atmosphere, its temperature increases?

I came across this paper: Baker, B. (1999). An easy to perform but often counterintuitive demonstration of gas expansion. American Journal of Physics, 67(8), 712-713. ...
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102 views

Prove identity of partial derivatives

I can not do the following problem: Prove the identity: $$\left( \frac{\partial x}{\partial y} \right)_{z}\left( \frac{\partial y}{\partial z} \right)_{x}\left( \frac{\partial z}{\partial x} ...
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235 views

Why does adding milk to my coffee produce a fractal?

Whenever I add milk to my morning coffee I often enjoy watching the patterns which are created. These patterns have a striking resemblance to certain fractals and my question is, "Why?" Oh dear, that ...
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323 views

Why does water ($\mathrm{H_2O}$) only have two distinct fluid phases?

Water (and other substances) can exist in many distinct solid phases (with different crystallic micro-structure), but only in two fluid phases - liquid and gaseous, in which the molecules are oriented ...
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136 views

Explain entropy (again)

I think I understand entropy finally. Will you verify for me? $$S = k_B \ln( \Omega)$$ where $\Omega$ (the multiplicity) is the degeneracy of the system at some energy (E)? So if the system is a ...
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1k views

Should entropy have units and temperature in terms of energy? [duplicate]

I've been thinking about entropy for a while and why it is a confusing concept and many references are filled with varying descriptions of something that is a statistical probability (arrows of time, ...
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328 views

Thermalisation - Open quantum systems

I would like to understand better a phenomenon of a quantum heat bath. Below I present one example, which seems quite clear to me. It would be great to see some less-discrete models, and more ...
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630 views

Heating coffee by yelling?

Is it a myth that yelling to a coffee mug will heat it? I have been hearing my friend saying that screaming will heat coffee or water.
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1k views

Would a small puddle of water evaporate faster if you spread a dry towel over it?

Let's say you spill 10ml of water on the kitchen counter. It forms a small puddle that would evaporate after a while (assuming room temperature and sane humidity). Would spreading a large, dry towel ...
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194 views

The heat equation in relation to smoothing algorithm

Recently I learned about a technique in image processing, which has its roots in something called the 'heat equation' from physics. The original creators of this technique were inspired by the physics ...
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653 views

How to reconcile the two definitions of work? (mechanical and thermodynamical)

When studying classical mechanics, work is defined as: $W_M=\int F_{tot} \hspace{2 mm} dx$. However, for thermodynamics, work is defined as: $W_T=\int -F_{ext} \hspace{2 mm} dx$. I'm having trouble ...
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Sackur-Tetrode equation - clarification required - problem with units

I'm a 2nd year physics undergraduate and recently I've volunteered to give a short presentation on the Sackur-Tetrode equation derivation and its use at removing the Gibbs paradox. I've looked on the ...
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767 views

Perfect fluids in cosmology?

In cosmology, it is often assumed that the equation of state of a cosmological fluid is of the form $p=w\rho$. Why is this? Is it the equation of a perfect fluid? Why does $w=0$ for matter $1/3$ for ...
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2k views

What are the units of these virial coefficients?

I'm reading some papers for calculating the vapor pressure of alkali metals as a function of temperature, and I've come across some familiar-looking virial expansions, but when I tried to work out the ...
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544 views

What states of matter are possible at lowest temperature?

Near absolute zero, some materials are superconductors. Other materials are superfluids. Others are Bose-Einstein Condensates. Is there a complete list of possibilities? Or is this still a research ...
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288 views

What does Metric Transitivity Mean?

Jaynes In his paper "Information theory and Statistical mechanics" says "Previously, one constructed a theory based on equations of motion, supplemented by additional hypothesis of ergodicity, ...
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2k views

Area under a $pV$ diagram

What does the area under a Pressure volume diagram equal? I read in my textbook it equals 'external' work done, but why is this? First of all, what exactly is external work? Can you get it ...
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Why can't I evaporate water without wind, just heat? (not boiling,evaporating!) Or can I?

So here is the thing, I searched all over the internet for this but all the sources say that I need wind because the process of evaporation goes as follow: Water particles at the top layer with ...
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Was the Universe's entropy equal to zero at the Big Bang? Is zero-entropy state unique?

It is postulated by many cosmologists that at the Big Bang time the universe was in an unusual low entropy state. Does this claim specifically mean that the entropy of the initial universe was zero? ...
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Why does it take until the middle of summer before lakes have warm water, but desert sand heats up in hours?

My sister asked me this question and I keep thinking that water would conduct heat much faster than sand. Hence the energy transfer of heat across the lake does not allow it to heat up soon. Sand on ...
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1answer
3k views

Time it takes for Temperature Change

I have just been thinking about it for a while and would like to see if there is a way to do this problem. The Setup: We have an insulated cup with mass $m_c$ and specific heat $s_c$. The cup is at ...
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2answers
3k 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 ...
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335 views

Does the second law of thermodynamics tell me how the entropy changes?

In thermodynamics I can e.g. compute the properties of ideal gases with certain energies $U_1,U_2$ in boxes with certain volumes $V_1$ and $V_2$. Say I have two such boxes and they have some specific ...
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3answers
2k views

Using 'Euler's Homogeneous Function Theorem' to Justify Thermodynamic Derivations

I've been working through the derivation of quantities like Gibb's free energy and internal energy, and I realised that I couldn't easily justify one of the final steps in the derivation. For ...
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283 views

Hygiene thermodynamics 2

Two kinda related questions here: Is evaporation rate and temperature difference related? There is an experiment of pouring cup of hot water out the window during winter. The water evaporates almost ...
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451 views

When do thermal and chemical equilibrium not coincide?

What is an example for a system, which is in chemical equilibrium, but not in thermodynamical equilibrium? And what about the other way around? It seems to me, that as long as Parameters like ...
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410 views

Is the cooling rate of a (very) cold object, sitting next to an AC higher or lower?

In more detail: If i have two soda cans, both are cooled to exactly 4 degrees celsius, And i put one in a 25 degrees room, and the other next to an AC vent set to 16 degrees. After three minutes, ...
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2k views

Solids with very large specific heats

I've noticed that for many solids, specific heat is around 1 Kj/Kg*K is there a theoretical explanation for this? What common solids have the highest heat capacity per mass and per volume?
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800 views

What is a quasicontinuum?

I'm currently going through statistical physics, especially on Fermi energy when I came across a term called "quasi-continuum", what exactly is it?
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395 views

How might a resonant antenna and black body radiation interact?

How does an antenna behave when it is cooled so that its black-body radiation is emitting energy at its resonant frequency? Edit: To clarify, its not how they're related in general, but how might ...
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1answer
39 views

Relationship between degrees of freedom and heat capacity and absolute zero?

The Wikipedia article on heat capacity indicates that there is a relationship between the number of degrees of freedom and the heat capacity. I understand this in terms of the equipartition theorem ...
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35 views

Balloon of ideal gas suddenly pops in the vacuum of space - final average energy per atom?

My question is: is the following thinking pretty much correct? I'm interested hearing about anything here that is fundamentally wrong. Of course there is a bit of hand waving and approximation. If a ...
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36 views

Pointwise temperature and Thermodynamic Temperature

When I studied Thermodynamics the definition of temperature I've learned (based on the Gibbs' postulates) was: $$T = \dfrac{\partial U}{\partial S}.$$ This quantity has all the properties of the ...
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41 views

Difference between state variable and state function in thermodynamic?

I think these two terms are sometimes used as synonyms and other times as different concepts. Can some explain what is the difference? An example would be good. Also, can state variable be the state ...
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48 views

What phenomena occur in a low voltage arc between copper and graphite electrodes, and why is the result dependent on electrode polarity?

I was playing around with a laboratory power supply, drawing arcs between electrodes of various materials. I noticed phenomena that I found interesting, and couldn't really explain myself: The ...
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1answer
36 views

Does the internal resistance of a battery dissipate heat as expected?

A common real battery is often modelled (to a good approximation) as a perfect voltage source having emf $\varepsilon$ with a series internal resistance $r$. So, when a current $I$ is drained from it, ...
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48 views

Calculate entropy from a Helmholtz free energy

Is it possible to create an explicit function of entropy $S(E,V,N)$ starting from Helmholtz free energy given as $F(T,V,N)$? An example of the other direction is here, but I am struggling to do the ...
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122 views

Number theoretic loophole allows alternative definition of entropy?

A bit about the post I apologize for the title. I know it sounds crazy but I could not think of an alternative one which was relevant. I know this is "wild idea" but please read the entire post. ...
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2answers
112 views

Why is entropy defined as a discrete sum over all microstates in classical case?

I'm reading about statistical definition of entropy, which says $$S=-k_B\sum_ip_i\ln p_i,\tag1$$ where $k_B$ is Boltzmann's constant, and $p_i$ is probability of $i$th state to be occupied. But in ...
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138 views

Why does shaking a match put the fire out?

Move a match slowly and nothing happens but if you shake it violently the fire will extinguish. Oxygen makes fire grow so why does waving a flame through the oxygen rich air put the fire out? Does ...
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3answers
151 views

How does pressure cooker work?

If you increase the pressure, the boiling temperature increases as well. In the other direction: if you decrease the pressure enough you could even make water boil at 18 dergees C. However I met this ...
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91 views

Thermodynamic free energy

The thermodynamic free energy is defined by $F=U-TS$ with $U,T,S$ being the internal energy, temperature and entropy respectively. I have also seen another formula for the free energy, $F=-T \log{Z}$ ...
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62 views

The temperature a liquid would boil: question incorrectly formulated or not?

I have met a question in a high school physics book which I think is incorrectly formulated. The question is this: In order to reach boiling temperature, a certain liquid requires twice the amount of ...
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1answer
40 views

How to relate heat build up in an open pipe to sound frequency and specific heat capacity of the pipe's material.

I am designing a physics experiment with my clarinet. A temperature probe and a microphone graph changes in temperature and sound pressure, respectively. I am trying to demonstrate how different woods ...
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1answer
78 views

Harmonic oscillator with heat bath

I need to calculate the expectation value for a harmonic oscillator coupled to a heat bath using the trace method. I know that the density operator looks like: $$\rho = \frac{e^{-H / k_B ...
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1answer
51 views

How do molecules absorb heat?

How do molecules absorb and retain heat, and how is that heat able to still affect nearby molecules? On Venus there is a green-house effect where the large, dense Carbon-Dioxide atmosphere absorbs ...
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2answers
116 views

Why water boiling time depends linearly on water volume?

I thought that the function will follow the Square-cube Law since we heat water at the surface (which is x^2) while we heat the volume (which is x^3) as it happens in animals according to Bergmann's ...
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73 views

Maximum Temperature?

I have been reading a lot about wavelengths of light and Planck's law and such. Curious as to whether a minimum wavelength of $h$ (Planck's Constant) indicates that there is in some way an absolute ...
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66 views

How do we know that the rate at which a body loses heat is proportional to the difference between its temperature and that of its environment?

Did someone do an experiment, or was that fact derived from other ideas we had about how the world works?