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 (1)

3
votes
4answers
3k views

why does a larger thermal conductivity provide a smaller temperature gradient?

I was thinking about Fourier's Law in heat transfer today and for some reason I am just not understanding the relationships it gives us. Fourier's tells us that if the heat transfer rate is kept ...
3
votes
1answer
308 views

Why aren't two systems in thermal equilibrium the same as one system?

I am reading Molecular Driving Forces, 2nd ed., by Dill & Bromberg. On page 53, example 3.9, we consider why energy exchanges between two systems from the point of view of the 2nd law. We ...
2
votes
2answers
7k views

Entropy Change During Reversible Processes

I'm confused about the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Second Law of Thermodynamics prohibits a decrease in the entropy of a closed system and states that the entropy is unchanged during a ...
0
votes
0answers
620 views

Entalpy and entropy role in freezing-point depression phenomena

There's this "atomic" explanation of the freezing-point phenomena on Wikipedia that leaves me really intrigued. Consider the problem in which the solvent freezes to a very nearly pure crystal, ...
2
votes
2answers
128 views

Eutectic systems behavior near 100%-0% composition and low temperature

I can't understand why in this phase diagram , in the area where the system is approaching the 100% $\alpha$ or 100% $\beta$ composition, the state is just a pure solid. I mean, where does the ...
1
vote
3answers
861 views

What happens to heat waste produced by energy generation?

What happens to heat waste produced by energy generation on earth that must be there according to the laws of thermodynamics? So, it never dissipates and remains on earth?
1
vote
0answers
47 views

Any new texts directly on second law of thermodynamics? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Recommendations for Statistical Mechanics book Is anyone aware of any recent text that summarises the research and arguments on second law of thermodynamics and also on ...
5
votes
1answer
443 views

Can an induction coil heat two layers of metal?

Imagine we have an induction coil which is strong enough to heat a sheet of metal. We can put a sheet of ferromagnetic metal close to the coil at distance $h_1$, and it gets heated to temperature ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

What's the physical difference between a convective heater and an infrared heater?

Could someone please explain why there are 2 types of space heaters-- one that is convective and one that is infrared? Why does the first one not radiate and why does the second one not heat the air? ...
9
votes
4answers
12k views

What happens when you heat vodka in a microwave?

Since ethanol has a lower dielectric constant than water would the water heat up and boil before the ethanol? Would the water transfer heat to the ethanol and, since ethanol has a lower boiling point, ...
2
votes
3answers
611 views

Less than absolute zero possible? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Temperature below absolute zero? According to this article http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6115/52 (preprint: http://arxiv.org/abs/1211.0545) it is. What do you ...
15
votes
3answers
540 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. ...
-1
votes
2answers
802 views

At the atomic level, is heat conduction simply radiation?

Radiation and conduction are two ways that heat is transferred. Convection isn't really a mode of transfer as the actual heat transfer really occurs through radiation/conduction and not by some other ...
2
votes
1answer
398 views

Intuitive description of what a “Fermi Gas” really is?

This question is based in the area of material equations of state. I am wanting to know what a Fermi Gas really is. I have searched in several places for a decent description, but I have not found ...
3
votes
1answer
470 views

Does a quantum phase transition have latent heat?

As the title says, I am thinking about the question that whether a quantum phase transition has latent heat. If so, at 0 temperature, we can drive the system by some parameter from disorder phase to ...
1
vote
1answer
221 views

Calculating the $\frac{dp}{dT}$ slope using Clausis-Clapeyron

I've produced experimental data over how the boiling point of water varies with pressure and temperature and plotted this in a PT graph. I would like to verify my results using theory. The ...
4
votes
1answer
471 views

How can gas from compressed air can “take” heat from surrounding environment?

I have recently been reading about why a can of compressed air gets cold when the air it contains is discharged. From what I understand the change from a liquid to a gas requires energy and therefore ...
11
votes
3answers
906 views

Temperature below absolute zero?

I saw this Nature article today, which cites e.g. arXiv:1211.0545. And it makes no sense to me. The temperature of a collection of particles is the average kinetic energy of those particles. Kinetic ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there some way to narrow down the Leidenfrost point for water?

Cooks sometimes use the Leidenfrost effect to estimate the temperature of a frying pan by flicking a few drops of water onto the heated pan. I had no idea, before looking into this, that this could be ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Do photons lose energy while travelling through space? Or why are planets closer to the sun warmer?

My train of thought was the following: The Earth orbiting the Sun is at times 5 million kilometers closer to it than others, but this is almost irrelevant to the seasons. Instead, the temperature ...
2
votes
1answer
280 views

free energy and entropy of 2D soap froth

This is a (exploratory) computational project. The soap froth was created by injecting bubbles into a chamber formed by two rectangular plates which are 0.16cm. From the moment the soap froth was ...
8
votes
1answer
592 views

Modification of Newton's Law of Cooling

Yesterday I randomly started thinking about Newton's Law of Cooling. The problem I realized is that it assumes the ambient temperature stays constant over time, which is obviously not true. So what I ...
19
votes
2answers
448 views

Why are expressions such as $\operatorname{ln}T$ used in thermodynamics where $T$ is not dimensionless?

In all thermodynamics texts that I have seen, expressions such as $\operatorname{ln}T$ and $\operatorname{ln}S$ are used, where $T$ is temperature and $S$ is entropy, and also with other thermodynamic ...
2
votes
3answers
284 views

Why is there more steam when water is subject to less fire?

When I cook things, such as scallop and salmon, I found that the food may be more tender if I wait till the water boils (at 100 C) and immediately turn the fire lower so that the water is not bubbling ...
0
votes
1answer
489 views

What is the relation between surface area and radiation, if any?

Basically I wonder what happens to emitted radiation by douubling a light e.g. twice the surface area of the sun will emit how much more radiation? 4 times more? Is there a formula?
3
votes
3answers
995 views

Understanding mathematically the free expansion process of an ideal gas

I'm trying to understand mathematically that for the free expansion of an ideal gas the internal energy $E$ just depends on temperature $T$ and not volume $V$. In the free expansion process the ...
2
votes
2answers
246 views

Can the vibrational energy of a engine be used to increase efficiency?

In whole mechanics, we never talk about wasted vibrational energy! As we see in our daily life, a lot of energy is wasted as vibrational energy in every engine, for example as we fire our car's ...
2
votes
1answer
820 views

Lennard Jones liquid vapour phase transition

I am trying to generate a phase diagram of pressure versus temperature in a NPT ensemble using molecular dynamics method. I am using the Lennard Jones potential with 108 particles and Berendsen ...
2
votes
3answers
515 views

Why is an air conditioner more efficient in a low-thermal-mass house?

Why is an air conditioner more efficient in a low-thermal-mass house? I recently read To get these efficiency gains it is important to use the air conditioner as it is intended: the unit has to ...
1
vote
1answer
125 views

Parameter determining argon phase

Currently I am working a molecular simulation to determine phases of an argon NPT ensemble using Lennard Jones potential. Mainly I use the radial distribution function to determine solid, liquid, or ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Can one heat up a vacuum?

I've got a question about heating a vacuum. If there were, say, a container in space, at 2.7 degrees kelvin (the typical temperature of space, if I'm not mistaken) and as empty as space (as close to ...
9
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
123 views

Thermal imaging camera [closed]

I'm making a tea bag experiment (Make a hollow cylindrical tube from light paper e.g. from an empty tea bag. When the top end of the cylinder is lit, it takes off.) I need to know how hot air is ...
5
votes
3answers
376 views

experimental technique for measuring temperature of an ant

I am taking a course on thermodynamics. I have a question from my text(halliday & resnick,physics-1). They asked me to measure temperature of an ant or an insect or a small body,like a small ...
8
votes
1answer
120 views

Are Carnot engine efficieny and Fourier heat trasmission law related?

It just occured to me that the efficiency of Carnot cycles is $\eta= \frac{T_1 - T_2}{T_1}$, that is, the efficiency decreases as the difference between reservoir temperatures decreases. On the other ...
16
votes
4answers
4k views

Why does the nature always prefer low energy and maximum entropy?

Why does the nature always prefer low energy and maximum entropy? I've just learned electrostatics and I still have no idea why like charges repel each other. ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

Where does the energy flow differ between a forward and reverse process?

Mathematically ($W=\int PdV$) and by the First Law, I understand that $1 \rightarrow 4 \rightarrow 3 \rightarrow 2 \rightarrow 1$ and $1 \rightarrow 2 \rightarrow 3 \rightarrow 4 \rightarrow 1$ are ...
2
votes
1answer
253 views

Are Carnot theorem and Carnot Cycle related?

This has been in my head for a while, and I think I finally have the answer. I was wondering what was so special about the Carnot cycle so it was used to demonstrate the Carnot theorem; the ...
10
votes
2answers
530 views

Energy from man-made tornadoes

Peter Thiel just paid $300,000 to Canadian inventor Louis Michaud who is working to construct useful "man-made tornadoes" or "atmospheric vortex engines" which could be components of future power ...
3
votes
1answer
320 views

If layers of insulation are continuously added to a heated object, will it continue to be better insulated?

If you were to keep adding layers of insulation to something, like blankets to a person, would each blanket continue to improve the insulation? Or do you reach some point at which the next blanket ...
2
votes
2answers
281 views

Phase volume contraction in dissipative systems

I am confused about phase-volume contraction in dissipative systems. Please help me catch the flaw in my understanding. From a macroscopic point of view I understand that a dynamic system tends to go ...
3
votes
0answers
79 views

Photon pumping in Laser

Let's consider a ring laser where the laser must pass through the gain material before it is sent toward a partially reflective surface $\ R=1-T $. The other mirrors are perfect reflectors with $\ ...
2
votes
0answers
70 views

In a non-degenerate plasma, why are e-e collision negligible compared to e-ion for thermal conduction?

I'm trying to make some order of magnitude estimates of heat transfer in stars - to better understand 1) why conduction is said to be negligible (for non-degenerate matter) and 2) when convection ...
1
vote
1answer
364 views

How much energy Maxwell's demon will earn?

Suppose we have one mole of one-atom ideal gas at temperature $T$. Suppose Maxwell's daemon has separated molecules into two sections, one with speed below mean and another with speed above mean. ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Liquid with freezing point above 0 Celsius that could be use at ice rinks

Please help me with an answer to my dilemma: Is there a liquid that could be used to fill an ice rink (non-explosive, non-poisonous, etc), and have the freezing point above 0 Celsius?
0
votes
2answers
157 views

Stealing heat, or not?

Say I hook a 1KW steam engine to the steam heat in my apartment, and generate 1KW of electricity (the engine is 1KW mechanical, not 1KW thermal) from it, so I don't have to pay ConEd. That means I ...
2
votes
4answers
7k 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 $V=V, T=\infty$ ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

Is $E=mc^2$ reserved to nuclear physics?

I was wondering, while putting a log in my fireplace, how much energy the piece of wood would give. The most famous formula poped into my head: $E=m \cdot c ^ 2$! Is this formula applicable to a ...
1
vote
1answer
372 views

Does a Peltier Thermoelectric layer make a good regulator for LN2 heat-sink interfacing

I understand that when cooling water with LN2 directly (through pipes for example), that it can be too effective, freezing the water (and blocking the pipe). From what I read, regulation of the heat ...
3
votes
2answers
607 views

How to interpret Stefan-Boltzmann's law?

The Stefan-Boltzmann equation states $e=\sigma T^4$, but how do we interpret this? Is this completely wrong: A body of size $s^2$ generates the radiation/temperature $T^4$ for a given size and a ...