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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (3)

3
votes
1answer
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, ...
2
votes
2answers
239 views

Lowest temperature possible in the universe?

The third law of thermodynamics states that nothing can reach to absolute zero temperature. What is the lowest possible temperature that can be in the universe? Has any experiment reached to a ...
2
votes
1answer
376 views

The definition of entropy

As history of thermodynamics say, it was a mystery that what is the required condition for a given energy conversion to take place? Like there are two possible events each conserving energy but only ...
1
vote
2answers
377 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
67 views

clausious inquality

Take a reservoir which gains a heat Q irreversibly at temp T from a surrounding at temp T0 then the entropy change of reservoir is given by Q/t and that of the surrounding is -Q/T0...How is this ...
-2
votes
1answer
941 views

Does time freeze at Absolute Zero? [closed]

Time has many definitions per se, but the basic idea being it's "the measurement of change" so as we know, all matter looses it's ability of changing with the loss of kinetic energy. and the where it ...
88
votes
16answers
172k views

How does mass leave the body when you lose weight?

When your body burns calories and you lose weight, obviously mass is leaving your body. In what form does it leave? In other words, what is the physical process by which the body loses weight when ...
89
votes
5answers
9k views

Why am I not burned by a strong wind?

So I was thinking... If heat I feel is just lots of particles going wild and transferring their energy to other bodies, why am I not burned by the wind? When I thought about it more I figured out ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
42
votes
1answer
16k views

Rubber band stretched produces heat and when released absorbs heat.. Why?

I always used to wonder why this happens.. when one stretches a rubberband to nearly it snapping point holding it close to your skin - preferably cheek(helps feel the heat), it emits heat. While ...
24
votes
4answers
2k views

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. ...
40
votes
6answers
16k views

Why does cold metal seem colder than cold air?

(I apologize for this elementary question. I don't know much about physics.) Let's say that I put a metal pot in the refrigerator for several hours. At this point, I guess, the pot and the air (in ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

Can a single classical particle have any entropy?

recently I have had some exchanges with @Marek regarding entropy of a single classical particle. I always believed that to define entropy one must have some distribution. In Quantum theory, a single ...
5
votes
3answers
471 views

Proof of existence of lowest temperature $0 K$

Im mathematics there is a concept of infinity meaning that whenever you pick a number and say that it is the smallest/Largest there is a way to further reduce/increase that number by ...
17
votes
3answers
609 views

Could temperature have been defined as $-\partial S/\partial U$?

When coming up with a definition of temperature, it's typical to start with an empirical definition that a system with a hotter temperature tends to lose heat to a system with a colder temperature. ...
11
votes
1answer
838 views

Why is (von Neumann) entropy maximized for an ensemble in thermal equilibrium?

Consider a quantum system in thermal equilibrium with a heat bath. In determining the density operator of the system, the usual procedure is to maximize the von Neumann entropy subject to the ...
27
votes
6answers
3k views

Is a suit that hides a soldier's heat signature fundamentally possible?

I recently played "Crysis", a game where the protagonist wears a suit that allows the player to hide both himself and his heat signature. Then I watched Iron Man 3, where a kid suggests that Tony ...
17
votes
6answers
7k views

What is the difference between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics?

What is the difference between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics?
18
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
17
votes
6answers
8k views

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 ...
13
votes
4answers
4k views

Thermodynamics of supercooled water

Now that it's been freezing outside for the last few days, I experimented a bit with supercooling. I've left a bottle of clean water outside for a few hours, and behold, when I shook the bottle, the ...
13
votes
4answers
408 views

Discontinuities and nondifferentiability in thermodynamics

In physics and engineering sources, calculus-based formalisms - whether differential forms on a manifold, or "differentials" of functions of several variables - are presented as a way of modeling and ...
8
votes
2answers
332 views

radiation thermodynamics paradox

This question is concerned with a thermodynamic paradox for radiating bodies and radiation in a cavity of a specific shape. Consider two nested shells that are axisymmetric ellipsoids with the same ...
4
votes
2answers
687 views

Why sound does not heat up the air?

Both thermal energy and air are propagated through vibration of particles so why sound does not heat up the air e.g loud musical instrument does not generate much heat ?
4
votes
4answers
461 views

What is temperature?

Recently I read an interesting article about negative temperature. I was puzzled because I thought before that temperature has definite meaning in thermodynamics: it tells about how fast atoms jiggle. ...
2
votes
4answers
10k views

Internal energy according to the van der Waals equation

I am trying to derive the internal energy of a gas which obeys the van der Waals equation. I have however encountered some problems. I calculate the integral of $dU$ from $V=0,T=0$ to $V=V, T=\infty$ ...
21
votes
3answers
10k views

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 ...
14
votes
4answers
29k views

On a hot day, when it's cooler outside than in; is it better to put a fan in an open window pointing inwards or outwards?

If it's really hot inside, but cooler outside; what is the best way to place a single fan to try and cool a room down? I always assumed it would be better pointing inwards (and this thread suggests ...
11
votes
7answers
3k views

Why does heat added to a system at a lower temperature cause higher entropy increase?

Entropy is defined in my book as $\Delta\ S = \frac{Q}{T}$. To derive the formula it says that entropy should be directly proportional to the heat energy as with more energy the particles would be ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Determine the Dependence of S (Entropy) on V and T

Why can the equation $$dS= \frac{1}{T} dU + \frac{P}{T} dV$$ be expressed as $$dS= \left. \frac{\partial S}{\partial T} \right|_V dT + \left. \frac{\partial S}{\partial V} \right|_T dV \quad?$$
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Isentropic processes

I'm having trouble understanding why reversible adiabatic processes are isentropic. I understand that in a reversible adiabatic process there is no heat exchange and so $dQ = TdS = 0.$ However, if ...
18
votes
6answers
5k views

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 ...
11
votes
4answers
18k views

Are specific heat and thermal conductivity related?

Are there any logical relationship between specific heat capacity and thermal conductivity ? I was wondering about this when I was reading an article on whether to choose cast iron or aluminium ...
8
votes
4answers
966 views

Hot water freezing faster than cold water

This question has puzzled me for a long time. There is already a question like this on Physics.SE. John's answer to the question seems quite satisfying. But when I googled the cause I found this and ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does the law of increasing entropy, a law arising from statistics of many particles, underpin modern physics?

As far as I interpret it, the law of ever increasing entropy states that "a system will always move towards the most disordered state, never in the other direction". Now, I understand why it would ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

What is heat and how does it effect an atom?

What happens in the atom when it gets heated or cooled and turns into gas, liquid or solid? I just want to know how does heat affect an atom.
3
votes
1answer
332 views

Simpler derivation of Sackur-Tetrode equation

Is there a reason the following derivation for the Sackur-Tetrode equation is not common? I am teaching a lower undergraduate level class and would like to derive it with simpler terms of only using ...
2
votes
4answers
509 views

Why does a bubble take a spherical shape?

I suspect this has something to do with thermodynamics and the isoperimetric inequality and I'm interested in a mathematical derivation of this result.
2
votes
5answers
9k 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?
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Confused about fire?

Im confused about fire. The way I see it : Heat creates (kinetic) energy in mass and this creates stronger vibrations of atoms. When those vibrations are strong enough the electrons interact ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Thermo-Emf variation with temperature

In the following experiment for seebeck effect After a certain temperature, the thermo-emf begins to fall. Why does this happen? What is happening microscopically at this level to cause such an ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

What's the best strategy to fully fill the fridge with beer bottles and have them all cooled?

I'm having a party. Suppose I'd like to have a fridge full of cold ($6~^\circ\text{C}$ or below) beer bottles, in as short a time frame as possible. The fridge indicates that it is targeting (and ...
7
votes
4answers
10k views

What equation of state is needed for liquid states?

I'm familiar with the ideal gas law $$PV=nRT$$ but I don't think it applies to liquids like water. If I'm wrong, please correct me! If I'm right, then what equation of state applies to liquids such ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

How does cold air move through a room

If you turn on a fan in a warm room, it feels as if cold air is being pushed from the fan out in the direction that it's facing, but what's actually happening on a molecular level? When an object is ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Gibbs Paradox - why should the change in entropy be zero?

The Gibbs paradox deals with the fact that for an ideal gas with $N$ molecules in a volume $V$ seperated by a diaphragm into two subvolumes $V_1,V_2$ with $N_1,N_2$ particles in each subvolume, ...
5
votes
1answer
413 views

Is a black hole's surface area invariant for distant intertial observers?

Let's imagine I'm very far from any massive objects, so my local space-time is Minkowskian. Off in the distance is a black hole, far enough away that it doesn't noticeably curve space-time near me, ...
4
votes
3answers
314 views

Problem about entropy

Combining the first and second law of thermodynamics we can get the following equation $$TdS=dU-P_{ext}dV$$ First question: Is this equation applicable for irreversible processes such that that ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Why does an electric motor burn up when you physically stop it?

As an electric motor spins, the energy from the electricity is 'conducted' to the rotor by the magnetic fields. However, when the motor is stopped, the energy becomes heat and burns up to motor. ...
4
votes
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 ...