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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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 ...
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4answers
3k views

What experiments prove the greenhouse effect?

What experiments prove that heat can be "trapped" by a layer of material with suitable optical properties, such as carbon dioxide? I've read a little on Wikipedia but I've got only some names, not the ...
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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 ...
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8k views

Why is black the best emitter?

Why are emitters colored black better emitters than other colors? Why is white a worse emitter?
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11k 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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195 views

Calculate the entropy per atom in Bohmian Mechanics

Bohmian mechanics description of a large number of interacting atoms would require a large phase space due to the large number of classical degrees of freedom. The entropy per atom is given as the ...
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451 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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348 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 ...
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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. ...
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Does decrease in temperature affect mass $E=mc^2$?

My understanding of Quantum physics and String Theory is very basic and I don't yet have a grasp on the maths, but in my research I have come up with a question. Does a decrease in temperature also ...
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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 ...
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1answer
819 views

Why do we ignore rotational energy in monatomic gases? [duplicate]

I understand that the average energy of each degree of freedom in a thermodynamic system is $\frac12kT$. And so, for an ideal monatomic gas, there are three degrees of freedom associated with the ...
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1answer
2k views

Equation of state of a rubber band

I have the following question that I attached in png format. I have done part (a), but I am having difficulties in part (b) when I proceed according to the book. I have non zero tension at ...
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1k views

Energy of unmixing

Mixing of two different fluids is associated with an increase of entropy. Conversely, separation of two gases must be associated with a decrease of the entropy of the two fluids. Is there a minimum ...
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128 views

What is the physical implication of Clausius inequality?

Clausius inequality is given as: $$\oint \frac{\delta Q_\text{res}}{T_\text{res}} \le 0\;.$$ From Carnot cycle, we get the equality relation as the entropy lost by the hot reservoir is the same as ...
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183 views

Why do windows fog quickly?

I'm from Bogotá, Colombia. In my city the temperature is all the year between 12ºC and 25ºC (bus mostly under 19ºC) and when I drive and it's raining, there is accumulation of fog on the windows, but ...
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199 views

Immediately after the Big Bang, was the universe in a state of extremely low or extremely high entropy?

Phase space theory suggests that the largest course-graining region, $p$, in a phase space, $P$, is the point in the phase space with the highest entropy. As such, it is in thermal equilibrium with ...
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808 views

Calculating temperature of water in the freezer

Assuming water volume ($V$), initial water temperature ($T_0$) and environment temperature ($T_e$) are known, what is the easiest way to calculate temperature of water in given time ($T$)? For the ...
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3answers
899 views

Is heat always associated with Light?

I have found that light always produces heat. The only cases I think heat is absent with light is Fluorescence and Phosphorescence (maybe because they emit low energy but maybe the heat is still ...
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2answers
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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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Definition of “intensive” and “extensive” properties

Today I was asked what does it mean for a physical property of a system to be intensive. My first answer, loosely speaking, was: "It is a property that is local." I was specifically thinking ...
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706 views

Mathematical proof of non-negative change of entropy $\Delta S\geq0$

I understand that we can prove that for any process that occurs in an isolated and closed system it must hold that $$\Delta S\geq0$$ via Clausius' theorem. My question is, how can I prove this in a ...
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3answers
286 views

If humans were able to catch all sun energy reaching the earth for their use, will the climate change?

I guess that energy will be used up and, at the end, will contribute to heat the earth, so I see no big differences... please explain your point of view.
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How can Maxwell's Demon erase information while a black hole can not?

It is stated, that information can't disappear even in black holes. On the other hand, it is stated, that mystic beings, like Maxwell demons, can easily erase any information if they just pay with ...
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Isothermal compressibility

How does one get from the thermodynamics definition : $$ \chi_T = -\frac{1}{V} \left(\frac{\partial V}{\partial p}\right)_T$$ to the fluid dynamics definition : $$ \chi_T = \frac{1}{\rho} ...
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Why can the entropy of an isolated system increase?

From the second law of thermodynamics: The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems always evolve toward ...
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Best way to chill a cup of coffee with cold water and 5 minutes [duplicate]

Initial data 1 x 3/4 full cup of hot coffee / tea / your favorite morning beverage cold water 5 minutes Considering that it's starting to get hot outside, and we all want to drink reasonably cold ...
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5answers
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Is speed an intensive property?

I remember being taught in elementary physics that while it makes sense to add volumes, masses, or heat, it makes no sense to add temperatures. As I wanted to use that to illustate some other issue, ...
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3answers
837 views

Why must the particles of an ideal gas be point-like?

Why is a gas of elastically colliding hard balls of finite size not ideal? Respectively: Why is it essential that the particles of an ideal gas are point-like? Especially: Which ...
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Why does deodorant always feel cold?

We all use deodorant and they always feel cold, why is that? Is it because it is liquid inside the bottle and a gas when it is released?
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279 views

Thermodynamics: heat transfer

I hope this question isn't too simplistic but I've been in a discussion with someone who claims that no energy is transferred between a cool object and a warm one (either by radiation or conduction) ...
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504 views

Maxwell demon : how can the demon move the door without doing any work ?

Here is something that I never understood about Maxwell's demon paradox : in order to contradict the second law of thermodynamics, the demon must open and close the door without doing any work... But ...
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180 views

Dropping condition

Imagine opening a water tap in order to have a smooth and cylindrical outflow and then slowly decrease the flow by adjusting the knob. At a certain moment, the side profile of the flow will become ...
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434 views

Why does the air pressure at the surface of the earth exactly equal the weight of the entire air column above it

Why does the air pressure at the surface of the earth (resulting from collisions of molecules on the surface of the earth which has to do with the velocity of the particles) exactly equal the weight ...
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1answer
333 views

Entropy is constant. How to express this equation in terms of pressure and density?

In hydrodynamics of an ideal, non-compressive flow we use 5 variables: pressure $p$, density $\rho$ and velocity field $\mathbf{v}$. So we need 5 equations. Landau's "Hydrodynamics" states that the ...
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1answer
482 views

How to solve the heat equation for compound materials with different heat conductivities numerically?

I'm solving the heat equation with time dependent boundary conditions numerically in a 2D system using the ADI scheme. For the purpose of this question, let's assume a constant heat conductivity and ...
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1answer
247 views

What happens at the interface between two universes with opposite thermodynamic arrows of time? [closed]

I was trying to think but cannot figure it out. For instance, if the interaction is small, for instance limited to a windows, the observers in each universe will see that the other goes in reverse. ...
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4answers
169 views

Why do dark objects emit more than lighter ones?

For the purposes of this question, "lighter" and "darker" refer to the absorptive qualities of the objects. Darker objects absorb more light, and therefore appear darker. I'm trying to understand the ...
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1answer
74 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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1answer
235 views

Thermal emission cathode electron velocity distribution

I can't find any experimental data (or theoretical expression) on what is the velocity (or energy) distribution of thermal emission cathode electrons emmited from the cathode at approximately 2000 K ...
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2answers
4k views

Why does blowing on hot coffee cool it down?

And will it cool off faster if you blow across the top of the cup or directly into the coffee? Does it have to do with the fact that when you blow across the top of the cup the velocity of the air ...
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3answers
838 views

Is there an upper limit to temperature in thermodynamics or statistical mechanics

In many presentations of statistical mechanics where we have a system of particles having mass, such as the molecules of an ideal gas, the temperature is often equated to the average relative velocity ...
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2answers
662 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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3answers
239 views

Colder surface radiates to warmer surface

When radiation from a colder source arrives at a warmer surface there is some debate about what happens next. To make the question more concrete lets say that the colder source is at temperature 288K. ...
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1answer
285 views

How is pressure an intensive coordinate?

Most textbooks explain intensive coordinates by asking us to consider a system and divide it into two parts. The properties which remain the same will be called intensive and the properties that ...
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2answers
399 views

Do the number of possible microstates increase as temperature decreases?

Entropy change, $\Delta{S}$, can be found from the $\frac{1}{T} - Q$ graph. When the temperature doesn't change during the dispersal of heat energy in the system, the area under the graph is more, ...
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702 views

Why does a substance expands upon freezing? What conditions necessitate this?

Why does a substance expands upon freezing? What conditions necessitate this? For example, how does the slope of sublimation or fusion curve in a P-T diagram affect this?