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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Why basements stay cold even during summer?

Why a room below the surface (such as basements) can stay cold all the time? How is it able to avoid the high increase of temperature and heat in hot days and periods?
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64 views

Determining if a solution will boil

A piston compresses a solution of 40% $HNO_3$ in $H_2O$. If the piston breaks and the pressure is reduced from 12.0 atm to 1.0 atm: a) If the temperature of the solution is 110 degrees C, will the ...
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229 views

Why does the specific thrust of an ideal turbojet drop with increasing compressor pressure ratio?

As the pressure ratio increases in an ideal turbojet (fixed flight Mach number), the specific thrust, $\frac{F}{\dot{m_{air}}}$ rises, reaches a peak for small pressure ratios and then starts to ...
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1answer
162 views

Molecular dynamics: Thermostat via damping modulation

Molecular dynamics (MD) often use a thermostat so that they can control the temperature. Temperature tends to drift due to endo/exothermic reactions (that would normally absorb/emit heat to a large ...
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3answers
307 views

Is there really such a thing as an irreversible process?

If an isolated system goes from a state A to B, will it always eventually fluctuate back to state A? If not, give an simple example. Is it right to say that entropy only says that the probability ...
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334 views

Calculate water use and design parameters for closed loop wet cooling tower

I am looking to estimate water use at a power plant with a closed loop wet cooling tower system. I have done some reading on cooling towers, but am struggling to connect the equations to a final ...
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0answers
26 views

Can I usefully interpret a non-unital completely positive (CP) map as a cooling process?

Non-unital completely positive (CP) maps take a maximally mixed quantum state (aka a normalized identity matrix aka an infinite temperature state) and map it to something else. This necessarily ...
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2answers
409 views

Why doesnt this violate 2nd law of thermodynamics?

Consider an ideal gas in a cylindrical container in a gravitational field, with a piston on top pushing down by gravity. The piston has some locking mechanism that locks it in place if it is displaced ...
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1answer
205 views

Volume quotient in Carnot-cycle

Problem: One kilomole of an ideal, monatomic gas undergoes a reversible Carnot-processes between temperatures 300 °C and 20 °C. The work done during one cycle is 1500 kJ. a) Find the ...
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57 views

Efficiency of the insulation of a house

I had an argument about the most cost-effective way to keep the energy bill low in the winter (here, temperature usually have an average of -20°C (-4°F)). He thinks that it's more effective to keep a ...
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1answer
58 views

How can you tell between gas, liquid and crystal in a microscopic way?

I know that molecules in ideal gas can move freely, and molecules in crystal are bonded to some specific location. But can I describe this in a more quantitative way? Do gas molecules have more ...
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1answer
74 views

Showing specififc internal energy $e$ is a perfect differential

I am reading a book on Gas dynamics and there is a small section on thermodynamics before the conservation laws of mass momentum and energy are introduced. The book says $$ p = R \rho T$$ where ...
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114 views

Food kept in a container in my pressure cooker cooks slower

The pressure cooker is heated at the base to cook the food. The pressure cooker releases steam when the force exerted by pressure exceeds the counterweight, at which point the weight rises up allowing ...
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1answer
308 views

Problem involving 1st law of thermo and ideal gas law

Problem: $1.0 \text{ kg}$ of air at pressure $10^6 \text{ Pa}$ and temperature $398 \text{ K}$ expands to a five times greater volume. The expansion occurs such that in every instance the added ...
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1answer
219 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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1answer
97 views

liquid polymers of high molecular weight

We often see a limit of melting point as a function of polymer chain length. Polyethlyene tops at about 190C, and polyethlyene glycol saturates at only 67C no matter how long the chain is: ...
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269 views

Theoretical or experimental violations of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics? [closed]

Theoretical challenges to the 2nd Law? What are some the theoretical challenges to the 2nd Law? (cf. Čápek, Vladislav, and Daniel P. Sheehan. Challenges to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Theory ...
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2answers
981 views

Is there a heat transfer equation that takes conduction, convection, radiation and dT/dt into account?

I see equations that take 2 or 3 of the listed parameters into account but I haven't been able to find one that is that complete. I'm seeking to solve this equation using matlab for a simulation ...
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1answer
156 views

Why is $0 \,\mathrm{K}$ so special?

I know that $0 \,\mathrm{K}$ cannot be reached, this is discussed here and here. But, why is it such an important statement? I mean, there are many properties which will never be zero, like: ...
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3answers
1k views

Would a Cup of Tea Be Hotter If you Add the Milk Before or After Boiling Water?

This is a bit of dispute between work colleagues. An answer would be greatly appreciated. My argument is as follows: If you add X amount of milk at a temperature of M to a mug at room temperature R ...
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3answers
553 views

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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3answers
453 views

Intuitive understanding of the definition of entropy

In Wikipedia, the definition of entropy goes like this: $ d S = \dfrac{\delta q_{\rm }}{T}$. The literal interpretation of this equation is that some amount of heat transferred into a system, if the ...
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1answer
1k views

Why is the change of temperature $\Delta T$ measured in Kelvins, degrees Celsius, etc.?

Let me start by apologizing if this question seems pedantic and say that I'm not very familiar with physics in general, as I'm a math major instead. Anyway, say a body changes from temperature $T_1$ ...
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1answer
97 views

How does enthalpy help us to find the state of equilibrium?

For an adiabatic system with constant external (generalized) forces, in a state out of equilibrium we have: $$\delta H\leq 0 $$ If I understand correctly, derivation of this inequality does not rely ...
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2answers
3k views

Are reversible adiabatic processes always isentropic?

If my understanding is correct, neither reversible nor adiabatic processes are necessarily isentropic. But are reversible adiabatic processes always isentropic?
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316 views

Understanding heat pump efficiency

I have read that heat pumps are more efficient than generating heat directly for heating homes, until the temperature gets down to a critical value. I just asked how to calculate temperature of ...
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81 views

Behavior of gasses, ideal and otherwise

I'm trying to help a child research a science project on refrigeration. Refreshing my incredibly rusty thermodynamics skills.... The ideal gas law: $PV=nRT$. Let's take air at STP: $P = 101\,kPa$ $V ...
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2k views

Why isn't absolute $0 K$ temperature possible?

So $T$ is defined as $$T = \left(\frac{\partial E}{\partial S}\right)$$ and $S$ is defined as $$S = k_B \ln \Omega$$ where $\Omega$ is the number of accessible states of the system for a given ...
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2answers
187 views

Are there critical constants for liquid-solid transition?

I'm aware of the critical constants for gas-liquid transition but is there such constants for liquid-solid transition? Like the maximum temperature above which a liquid cannot be solidified.
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6answers
781 views

How do you prove the second law of thermodynamics from statistical mechanics?

How do you prove the second law of thermodynamics from statistical mechanics? To prove entropy will only increase with time? How to prove? Please guide.
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3answers
840 views

How does the entropy of an isolated system increase?

The change of entropy is defined $$\Delta S = \int \frac{dQ_\mathrm{rev}}{T}.$$ If a system is isolated the heat transfer between the system and the surroundings is zero ($dQ = 0$), thus $\Delta S = ...
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2answers
405 views

Incorrect IR temperature reading on stainless steel?

Using a Fluke 62 Mini Infrared Thermometer today on a stainless steel pipe with coolant I noticed that it gives incorrect temperature readings. There is a temperature sensor inside the coolant ...
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4answers
764 views

How does Infrared Relate to heat?

I never understood the relationship between Infrared and Heat. Is IR emitted when heat is generated, is heat generated when IR is made, and how do the two relate?
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1answer
53 views

energy source for phase transformation-latent heat of vapourisation

As per my knowledge, phase transformation require energy gain or loss.if we are changing a liquid to gas we heat it and that is how molecules of liquid gains energy and lattice spacing increases and ...
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1answer
173 views

Why is there a sign error in my derivation? Adiabatic expansion of ideal gas: $TV^{1-\gamma}$ is constant

This is the last part of a derivation of the equation for an ideal gas undergoing reversible adiabatic expansion. I'm trying to prove that $T V^{\gamma-1}$ is constant, but my result is that $T ...
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1answer
140 views

Calculating sum of heat transfered

I have a formula of thermal conductance heat transfer rate. Here it is: $$ Q = \lambda{S (T_1 - T_2) \over L} \Delta t $$ For my calculations I have got some constant values available $$ Q = 0.58{1 ...
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2answers
134 views

Max temperature that can be obtained from radiation source when nonlinear interaction with matter is important?

Using a black body radiation as furnace it is usually said that the max achievable $T$ is limited to the T of the source. So a source of 3000K can not be used to heat a body above 3000K. A long ...
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1k views

What are the six degrees of freedom of the atoms in a solid?

A monoatomic ideal gas has heat capacity $C_v=1.5$ which comes from the three translational degrees of freedom. For solids at high temperature, $C_v=3$, implying six degrees of freedom. What are ...
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1answer
354 views

Does this type of phase transition exist?

The short version of this question is: Is there, or could there be, a system with a phase transition where adding a small amount of heat causes a discontinuous jump in its temperature? Below are ...
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0answers
82 views

How long will it take to cool? [closed]

Is it possible to cool down a system in milliseconds? And if so how can I? If I have a red hot metal at 773.15K can I dope it to 673.15K super fast?
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1answer
83 views

How long will it take to temperatures of two solids to become equal?

If I have two solids with commmon area where they are touching each other, is there any way for calculating the time it will take to them to become equal? For example, I have two blocks of different ...
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3answers
220 views

Why does time reversibility imply equilibrium in a thermodynamic system? [duplicate]

I'm reading through Kardar's Statistical Mechanics of Particles; in the section 1.5 he says: A reversible process is one that can be run backward in time by simply reversing its inputs and ...
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1answer
136 views

What the rate of heat transfer between my thumb and a surface of known dimensions and properties?

I am trying to calibrate a high speed thermocouple for measuring heat transfer rates. One of the calibration techniques I am using is sticking my thumb to the thermocouple (which is embedded flush ...
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1answer
309 views

Energy transfers in boiling a liquid?

When you boil a liquid the KE stays the same (as temp is the same), so where does the extra energy go? I know the extra energy put in breaks bonds between the molecules/ atoms, but once it has broken ...
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1answer
354 views

Why do pressure and chemical potential depend on temperature, instead of having symmetric definitions?

I'm following an introduction to statistical mechanics and have seen the following definitions for fundamental temperature, pressure and chemical potential respectively: $$\frac{1}{\tau} := \left( ...
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3answers
325 views

Why is gas(oline) in gas stations sold by volume (as opposed to mass)?

Fluids (including natural gasoline/petroleum) have variable volume based on the ambient temperature for the same mass of fluid. So, really, the amount of gas that you're filling your car with depends ...
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2answers
521 views

Is it possible for the entropy in an isolated system to decrease?

As far as I can tell, the concept of entropy is a purely statistical one. In my engineering thermodynamics course we were told that the second law of Thermodynamics states that "the entropy of an ...
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1answer
314 views

Why do larger planets cool more slowly than smaller ones?

I learned it during my environment class. My professor introduced the concept--- ratio of surface area and volume. The numerator has connections with the radiative loss, while the denominator is ...
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3answers
494 views

Does serving food on a hot plate really keep it warm longer?

I live in Ireland where serving food on hot plates is considered “good cooking practice” to ensure the food remains warm – I come from France where I have rarely seen it done. I am wondering if this ...
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1answer
133 views

Deriving the condtion for spontaneity using gibbs free energy

While deriving the condition for spontaneity, $\Delta$G$\leqslant$0, we start by saying that $\Delta S_{tot}$ $\ge$0 $\Rightarrow$ $\Delta S_{sys}$ + $\Delta S_{surr}$ $\ge0$ If $Q$ is the heat ...