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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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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296 views

Does heat radiation come from the nucleus or the electrons?

Is more of the thermal radiation due to acceleration of electrons or acceleration of the nuclei? Do electrons and nuclei carry the same fractions of thermal energy in a hot body?
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Why are materials that are better at conducting electricity also proportionately better at conducting heat?

It seems like among the electrical conductors there's a relationship between the ability to conduct heat as well as electricity. Eg: Copper is better than aluminum at conducting both electricity and ...
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6k views

Can entropy be equal to zero?

I've searched for it but I only found contradicting answers from "scientists": Dr. David Balson, Ph.D. states: "entropy in a system can never be equal to zero". Sam Bowen does not refutes the ...
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If I take a bottle of air into space, and open it, where does it go?

It seems to me that space doesn't have any/much air, and if my bottle is full of air, when I open it, where does the air go?
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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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467 views

Spontaneous conversion of heat into work at negative temperatures

Consider a heavy macroscopic object moving in a gas. Friction causes its kinetic energy to be converted into heat. Thermodynamically, there is (effectively) no entropy associated with the kinetic ...
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484 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 ...
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3answers
899 views

How does a canvas water bag cool water?

I was reading about this water bottle by Botl that behaves like a canvas water bags to keep water cool. I found out that this idea is an old idea and cars would drive with water bags in front as shown ...
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217 views

Any open areas to work in non equilibrium thermodynamics for a Phd student? [closed]

I see that many papers written on fundamentals of thermodynamics(theory) nowadays are by some old professors somewhere(there may be exceptions). Most active young faculty don't seem to be seriously ...
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592 views

Definition of the entropy

In physics, the word entropy has important physical implications as the amount of "disorder" of a system. In mathematics, a more abstract definition is used. The (Shannon) entropy of a variable $X$ is ...
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692 views

What meaning does the slope of the efficiency path on a Mollier diagram have in terms of temperature?

Let's say I have a steam turbine that I have modified to increase its isentropic efficiency. As a specific case, consider the modification outlined in the Mollier diagram below. The arrows represent ...
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146 views

Are there materials that get softer with temperature decrease?

Could be there material that begins melting/softening when it's temperature is lowered? I would say no, but I've seen enough physics to know that not always life is so easy. Moreover I think I've ...
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812 views

Why do moving particles emit thermal radiation?

While answering another question about heat in an atom, the discussion in the comments led to the question of how heat is related to thermal radiation picked up by infrared cameras. The answer is that ...
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7k views

How does an earthen pot keep water cool?

I understand that evaporative cooling takes place thanks to small pores contained in the pot and that allow some water to go through and evaporate. However I couldn't understand clearly whether water ...
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2answers
238 views

relativistic spaceship, CMB radiation and thermodynamics

Scenario: a spaceship is travelling at a high fraction of $c$. The interstellar gas and CMB radiation has blueshifted significantly and we are facing a possible melting of the front radiation shield! ...
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2answers
333 views

How much energy from extreme coldness?

Let's say I have: 1: one mole of extremely cold ideal gas 2: unlimited amount of ideal gas at temperature 300 K 3: one ideal heat engine Can I generate for example 1 MWh of mechanical energy using ...
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3answers
364 views

Is thermodynamic reversibility a function of path?

Question: given a path taken by a system through state space, is it possible to make a statement such as 'that path corresponds to an irreversible process' or 'that path corresponds to a reversible ...
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929 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, ...
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1answer
173 views

What pressure or tension occurs in a glass jar when I pour boiling water inside?

Sometimes it happens that when you pour a boiling water into a glass jar, it cracks. Since glass is very hard material and resilient to pressure, the tension must be very high. Is it possible to ...
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1answer
274 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, ...
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3answers
3k views

Given constant T, why does P affect internal energy?

It has always bugged me that tables for water (and other) properties have the capability to look up internal energy as a function of both temperature and pressure. If we limit the discussion to ...
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5answers
7k views

Why does hot oil explode when pouring water on it?

I am puzzled to know, What is the reason of hot oil make sound and explode when we pouring water on it?
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704 views

What happens if you connect a hot resistor to a cold resistor?

Kind of an extension to this question: If you heat up an object, and put it in contact with a colder object, in an ideal insulated box, the heat from one will transfer to the other through thermal ...
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338 views

Difference between irreversible and entropy?

Cedric Villani recently wrote an article on Landau damping, where at least one topic discussed confused me. Besides discussing the issue of how a process can be microscopically reversible and ...
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5k views

How air humidity affects how much time is needed for heating the air?

In cold weathers it is suggested to put a humidifier since the air gets too dry. I wonder how the humidity affects how much time is needed to get the air at a temperature of 20 Celsius degrees? I mean ...
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Inflating a balloon (expansion resistance)

I am doing a quick calculation on how to calculate the pressure needed to inflate a perfectly spherical balloon to a certain volume, however I have difficulties with the fact that the balloon (rubber) ...
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3answers
169 views

Are galaxies, stars, planets, and ultimately life in violation of the second law of thermodynamics? [duplicate]

How can we think about entropy in these situations? To my knowledge all of these structures are born out of gravitational interaction. However, it would seem that the formation of these more organized ...
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623 views

What is happening as our Universe is expanding? Is entropy increasing or decreasing?

Scientists say that entropy of our universe is increasing as it is expanding and our universe is cooling down gradually from the time of it's birth.If something is getting cooler and cooler then how ...
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1answer
350 views

Why does $U = T S - P V + \sum_i \mu_i N_i$?

From the first law of thermodynamics: $$ dU = TdS - PdV + \sum_i\mu_i dN_i.$$ Quoting Wikipedia: As conjugate variables to the composition $N_{i}$ the chemical potentials are intensive ...
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2answers
1k views

Connection between entropy and energy

An isolated system $A$ has entropy $S_a>0$. Next, the isolation of $A$ is temporarily violated, and it has entropy reduced $$S_b ~=~ S_a - S,\space\space\space S\leq S_a.$$ Is it true to say: the ...
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2answers
467 views

Intuition behind the concept of heat

Even if elementary, I'm afraid I am still not comfortable with the concept of heat. I can picture heat as some kind of incompressible fluid that is transferred from a body to another in such a way ...
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1answer
88 views

Why do vapour cones form around jet fighters?

Apparently this phenomenon has nothing to do with jets breaking the sound barrier and has something to do with the Prandtl-Glauert singularity as described on Wikipedia. But, the Wikipedia article ...
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4answers
113 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
539 views

Is a plasma a distinct phase of matter?

Long ago I learned that a plasma was a distinct state of matter after solid, liquid and gas, and also that it was achieved by imparting heat to a the matter. But most references describe a plasma as ...
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440 views

If I replace all my lights with LEDs will my heating costs increase?

A number of nations are passing bills to phase out incandescent light bulbs. The thinking is that the tungsten filament is an inefficient method of turning electricity into light, the rest of the ...
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1answer
2k 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.
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1answer
1k views

Does an object's color change its rate of cooling?

The motivation for this question comes directly from this thread. The proposition is that the color of something changes how fast it cools (note: specifically the rate of cooling, not taking into ...
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1answer
452 views

Why there is no negative temperature [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Prove that negative absolute temperatures are actually hotter than positive absolute temperatures Proof of existence of lowest temperature $0 K$ On the Kelvin ...
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1answer
1k views

Heat of vaporization of water - dependence on relative humidity?

Does the heat of vaporization of water depend strongly on the relative humidity of the gas into which it evaporates? Some context: If we want to calculate the dew point of water, we find the ...
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2answers
1k views

Are information conservation and energy conservation related?

as evident from the title, are both, conservation of energy and conservation of information two sides of the same coin?? Is there something more to the hypothesis of hawking's radiation other than ...
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0answers
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What are typical values of the critical thickness of insulation?

As most people who've had any elementary heat transfer course are aware, when insulating a pipe, wire, etc, there is a critical thickness for the insulation below which it causes greater heat transfer ...
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2answers
895 views

What is more efficient: Add milk, and then heat up coffee in the microwave, or microwave than milk?

Adding milk first increases the volume to heat and lowers average temerature, but adding it afterwards seems to have similar effects. How can you compare the two?
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427 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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250 views

Is there any optical component that uniformizes the incoming light?

Is there any optical component in existence that uniformizes randomly pointing rays?
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1answer
185 views

What is meant by boiling off electrons in a heater coil?

In my electricity and magnetism course, we used a Thompson tube to produce an electron beam. There is a heating element at the back of the tube and the lab manual claims that "electrons are boiled ...
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1answer
149 views

Uncertainty and Thermodynamics

Dilemma The uncertainty principle of energy and the 2nd law of thermodynamics don't add up : the uncertainty principle of energy says that $\Delta \tau \cdot \Delta E \ge \frac{h}{4\pi} = ...
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4answers
423 views

Irreversible expansion and time reversal symmetry

Suppose there are N non-interacting classical particles in a box, so their state can be described by the $\{\mathbf{x}_i(t), \mathbf{p}_i(t) \}$. If the particles are initially at the left of the box, ...
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1answer
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Unmixing of gases: What is the relevant temperature for my Entropy?

This answer to a question about unmixing gases states: However, let us now assume we have to hand a source of mechanical work, and a large heat reservoir at temperature $T$. I'll assume that ...
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1answer
283 views

Ideal gas temperature and pressure gradients?

Consider an ideal gas in a $d\times d\times L$ box with the $L$ dimension in the $x$-direction. Suppose that the opposite $d\times d$ sides of the box are held at temperatures $T_1$ and $T_2$ with ...