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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100 views

Legendre transformation: non-convex/non-convave functions

The Legendre transformation is used to derive the Hamiltonian from the Lagrangian, and it finds many applications in thermodynamics to convert between the different potentials. $ f(x) \rightarrow ...
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97 views

What is the best thermal heatsink compound?

Re-worded This is about the Experimental Physics not PC building or how to grease a car's radiator. I have to insert a stainless steel enclosed PT100 into a block of metal to monitor its temperature ...
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105 views

Partition function: Number of states? Doesn't add up for ising

While trying to really understanding the partition function in statistical mechanics, I tried looking at it for a 2D ising model, as that's been helpful for me for all kinds of thermodynamic values. ...
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96 views

Are black holes hot?

If no light can escape black holes, in my mind they would act as a greenhouse, collecting radiation from the stars or CMB or anything. Or is all this energy just absorbed by the black hole?
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89 views

Can an object appropriately isolated from its surroundings become colder than its surroundings?

Consider a sealed box, well-insulated on all sides, except for the lid which is transparent to infrared. An object is placed inside the box and the box is evacuated (purpose being to thermally isolate ...
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188 views

Entropy and Gibbs Free Energy

I've been struggling with the notion of entropy and gibbs free energy for almost three days now. Different sources on and off the internet say different things about entropy. Gibbs Free Energy is ...
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83 views

Proof of the Boltzmann factor

The following derivation of the Boltzmann factor is obviously wrong, or incomplete: $$p(E) \propto \Omega(U-E)$$ Consider the Taylor expansion of $\ln\Omega(x)$: $$\ln\Omega(U-E)\approx \ln ...
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192 views

Relation between work and internal energy in an Isothermal expansion

I don't understand why the change in internal energy in an isothermal expansion is considered to be 0. In an isothermal process is done work, so, shouldn't that imply that the internal energy changed? ...
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132 views

What material can achieve the highest temperature before failing when being heated by electricity?

Just as a qualifier, I barely made it through physical science in college, so... Please be detailed in your answers and assume I know nothing. Let's say I wanted to make an electrical coil for the ...
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126 views

Why doesn't oxyhydrogen flame travel through a narrow pipe?

In this video someone filled a syringe with oxyhydrogen (2:1 hydrogen-oxygen mixture obtained with a "brown gas generator", an efficient electrolyzer). The mixture at the tip of the needle was lit ...
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176 views

Boiling water at low pressure with heat supply

I understand that water boils at lower temperatures at lower pressures, but I want to know what happens when external heat is supplied to a body of water at low pressure. Suppose I have a hot object ...
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93 views

How to make the mixed water warmer?

Freezing cold. Nastily I still have to do the laundry by hand. And to keep my hands from being frozen I have to add some hot water to the freezing tap water. Let's just suppose that I have the same ...
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992 views

Does tin foil keep heat out?

For example, if i were mailing a box of chocolates and lined the inside of the box with foil, then wrapped the chocolate in bubble wrap and placed it inside the foil lined box, would the box heat up ...
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54 views

Equivalence of different definitions for chemical potential

In some books, the chemical potential is defined in term of the Gibbs energy as $$ \mu_i \equiv \left( \frac{\partial G}{\partial n_i} \right)_{P,T,n_j} $$ where $n_j$ indicates all mole numbers ...
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83 views

Magnons contribution to spontaneous magnetization

In Statistical Physics part II of Landau's course in theoretical physics it is stated that the magnon part of the spontaneous magnetization can be calculated as $$ M_m \equiv M(T) - M(0) = ...
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430 views

What is the interpretation of pressure times volume as energy?

I know that pressure times volume has units of energy, but is there an intuitive explanation of how the pressure contributes to the total energy? It seems clear for ideal gases using the $PV=nRT$ ...
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168 views

Simplest way to analytically determine whether a claimed heat transfer process obeys the second law of thermodynamics?

I want to find the simplest method to determine whether a proposed heat transfer process violates the second law of thermodynamics. Specifically I am looking for a method that meets the following ...
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178 views

Thermodynamics and ice cream

The outdoor temperature is about -30 -40 degree but it does not prevent me to eat ice cream. But I don't know what is the ice cream in thermodynamic point of view. It is not liquid.It is not solid. ...
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413 views

Would using a fan cause an air conditioning system to think it's cold?

Recently my office manager said this, after I requested a desk fan: ...using a fan causes a draught, which then leads the air conditioning to believe it’s cooler than it is and it then blows out ...
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376 views

Rate of Temperature Change due to Heat addition

I might be wrong but I will give a little background leading to my question. I am trying to calculate the heat generation in the advection-diffusion equation for heat generation due to friction by ...
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205 views

why do metals feel cold when electron moves at Fermi velocity?

This might be a very elementary question. Considering that electrons in typical metals have very high Fermi velocity, why is it that when you touch a metal you feel cold? My intuition tells me that ...
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190 views

How does heat travel?

How does heat travel? I have two competing thoughts here!! Firstly some form of atomic/molecular process liberates a photon in the infrared region of the spectrum which is detected as heat by a ...
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1answer
116 views

Evaporation of water at room temperature

Could anybody refer me to some literature (textbooks or research, although preferably textbooks!) dedicated to explaining quantitatively the phenomenon of evaporation of fluids? I understand that it's ...
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419 views

Compute convective heat transfer coefficient for a condensing steam

I have a question about convective heat transfer coefficients. I am trying to figure out how much steam I can condense in this specific heat exchanger. Steam at 9 MPa is condensed in a 1 shell pass, ...
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682 views

Confusion in the pressure-volume work in an irreversible process

Let there be a certain amount of gaseous substance kept in a cylinder fitted with a weightless & frictionless piston. The initial volume and pressure of the gas are $V_1$ & $P_1$ respectively. ...
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192 views

Phase diagram of water v/s other substances

Why for water increase in pressure decreases solidification temperature? The fusion curve of water is not same as that of other substances and for other substances specific volume increases during ...
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131 views

Modeling a wine cooler heat loss to ambient

I'm trying to model the steady state heat loss to ambient, in W, for a wine cooler similar to the following: For the modeling, I will need the following variables/constants: $T_a$ [K]: Ambient ...
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71 views

Relationship between two viewpoints on Thermodynamics

I've always seem the standard viewpoint on Thermodynamics that it is all about studying phenomena related to a property of systems called temperature. Then we have the zeroth law which allows us to ...
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142 views

Why is everything colder nowadays? [duplicate]

I know that when the universe began it was incredibly hot. Ever since, it is been cooling, and nowadays the average temperature of the universe is quite close to 0 K. Is this a consequence of having ...
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2k views

Thermodynamics for Dummies: Entropy and temperature

I do not study physics and I have never had a course in thermodynamics. I have no idea what it is about, but I am currently taking a course where we had something about entropy. Would be great if ...
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2k views

The thermodynamics of heating water in a rigid container

When the pressure on the liquid surface is less than the vapor pressure of the liquid at a given temperature, the liquid will start to evaporate. This is common sense. The problem is more difficult ...
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92 views

Can I tune a magnetic field to conduct heat from a rotating object?

Is there a way to transfer heat from a rotating object made of iron into a suitable heat sink using a magnetic field as a transfer medium?
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1k views

Relations between pressure and temperature

I have several questions concerning thermodynamics and I order them in 4 points that may be related: What's the difference between heat and work at the atomic level? Isn't heat simply work between ...
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458 views

How is heat transferred to a thermometer?

Quick question. I can't seem to find a satisfactory answer online. How does a thermometer measure the average kinetic energy of atmospheric air? I assume that the energy is transferred by molecular ...
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165 views

What does adding a visible light blocking IR filter do with heat?

Lets say I have a strong halogen light source which has a lot of IR radiation (e.g. a construction lamp). If I change the transparent front glass from the enclosure with a IR filter that blocks ...
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40 views

Efficiency of a thermal reactor

I was told that the efficiency of any thermal reactor increases if it is operated at higher temperature- in this case, nuclear reactor was referred to. But I cannot seem to understand why...
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1k views

First Order Phase Transition - Heat Capacity

At constant pressure : $\frac{dH}{dT}=C_p $ Hence, why doesn't the graph of $C_p$ against $T$ show two perfectly horizontal lines (with the obvious discontinuity) ? I mean the gradient of $H$ ...
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185 views

First law of thermodynamics applied to atmospheric fluid

I was reading an article that talks on a climate prediction model. This article proposes the following equation (energy balance): $$\rho_0 c_v\left( \frac{\partial T}{\partial t} + \sum^{3}_{j=1} ...
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2k views

Is there an equation to calculate the average speed of liquid molecules?

I seem to remember from first year physics that we can calculate the RMS speed of a stationary, ideal gas with $v=\sqrt{\frac{3RT}{M}}$. Does a similar equation exist for liquids?
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719 views

Do reversible processes exist in Nature?

Classical thermodynamics always discusses entropy in the light of reversible processes, and it lies at the heart of the definition of entropy. But do these reversible processes exist in Nature, or are ...
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606 views

When the matter is heated does the photon absorbed by electrons of atoms or by atoms themself?

When the matter is heated does the photon absorbs by electrons of atoms or by atoms themself?
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113 views

Free Energy, Avialable Work in a reversible process

I was reading the Wikipedia page on Helmoltz Free Energy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmholtz_free_energy, and run across a point I cannot unravel. The discussion goes as follows, I reproduce it ...
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3k views

How much electricity can be produced by my thermoelectric generator?

I am using a thermoelectric cooler from a pc's heatsink to produce electricity. Its size is 30mm by 30mm. I will cool it on one side at -10 degree Celsius and the other at 24 degree Celsius. Can ...
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806 views

Can a thermometer really measure the temperature of a substance?

When we measure the temperature of a substance by using a thermometer and waiting until the two come into thermal equilibrium, the thermometer will not display the original temperature of the ...
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119 views

Definition of entropy

In my textbook there is written $$\Delta S = \int_R \frac{\delta Q}{T}$$ where the $R$ means calculated along a reversible transformation. The variation of entropy only depends upon the ...
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1answer
1k views

Meaning of heat sink in engine analysis [closed]

I am confused with the meaning of sink. What part of vehicle engine acts as reservoir and what does as sink?
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82 views

Temperature limit on entropy of a paramagnet

We have $$S=Nk_B[\ln(2 \cosh(x)) - x \tanh(x)]$$ where $$x = \frac{\mu B}{k_BT}$$ In need to show that at low temperatures entropy $$S \approx Nk_B2xe^{-2x}$$ I wrote out the $\cosh(x)$ in terms of ...
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97 views

Radiation and absorption

Can thermal radiation from a cooler object (B, which emits longer wavelength radiation) ever ADD to the overall thermal energy level of a warmer object (A, which emits shorter wavelength radiation)? ...
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67 views

Calculating energy U from $\partial U/\partial q$

Imagine $N$ oscillators with only two possible energies, $\epsilon_0$ and $ \epsilon_1$, with $\epsilon_1 > \epsilon_0$. Taking $\epsilon_0 = 0$ for now I showed $\Omega(q\epsilon_1) = ...
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137 views

How does a MRI use 20.1kW yet creates over 204K BTU/h? [closed]

I've been reading through a manual about MRI operating procedures for a large healthcare provider. The manual (written by Siemens) states that the MRI machines use 9kW in stand-by mode and 20.1kW ...