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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Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Arrow of Time: Why isn't time considered fundamental?

I've come across this explanation that the "arrow of time" is a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics, which says that the entropy of an isolated system is always increasing. The argument is ...
17
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4answers
988 views

What is the status of Mpemba effect investigations?

There is this puzzling thing that is called Mpemba effect: paradoxically, warm (35°C) water freezes faster than cold (5°C) water. As a physisist, I've been asked about it several times already. And I ...
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7answers
3k views

Is it theoretically possible to reach 0 kelvin?

I'm having a discussion with someone. I said that it is -even theoretically- impossible to reach 0K, because that would imply that all molecules in the substance would stand perfectly still. He said ...
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3answers
2k views

Why does thermal resistance go down as temperature goes up?

Here is the thermal resistance data for three speaker coils disengaged from the speaker cone. Any ideas? I would think it would be a horizontal line. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_resistance ...
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1answer
134 views

Where is the critical moment where the microcanonical ensemble enters the justification for the equilibium state?

As explained in many books, for the microscopic justification of the second law of thermodynamics (lets formulate it as the total entropy takes maximum among all possible exchanges of two systems), ...
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1answer
240 views

Why is the crust of my meat pie only slightly warm?

I just cooked a meat pie in the oven. Almost immediately after pulling it out of the oven, I felt that the crust was only slightly warm, but when I cut it open the filling felt very warm. I can't ...
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4answers
277 views

Is energy extensivity necessary in thermodynamics?

Given a partition of a system into two smaller systems, the energy $U$ is devided into $U_1$ and $U_2$, with $$U=\mathcal{P}(U_1,U_2):=U_1+U_2,$$ so that $U_2$ is given by $U-U_1$. Here the ...
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2answers
2k views

Constant Volume vs. Constant Pressure?

Approaching the following question: Consider two experiments in which 2 moles of a monatomic ideal gas are heated from temperature $T$ to temperature $T + \Delta T$: in the first experiment ...
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2answers
485 views

Is temperature quantized?

I'm learning quantum mechanics on my own. I've known that energy is quantized and I've started wondering about temperature. From thermodynamics we have: $$U=\frac{3}{2}NkT $$ (for ideal gas, of ...
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1answer
198 views

Double internal energy, how much will the entropy change?

Approaching the following question Imagine we have a collection of $N = 100$ simple harmonic oscillators. The total internal energy is $U = q \epsilon$ where $q$ is the number of energy ...
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1answer
67 views

What is $k_B$ in the context of this question?

Answering the following question 1000 atoms are in equilibrium at temperature T. Each atom has two energy states, $E_1$ and $E_2$, where $E_2 > E_1$ . On average, there are 200 atoms in the ...
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7answers
2k views

Introduction to differential forms in thermodynamics

I've studied differential geometry just enough to be confident with differential forms. Now I want to see application of this formalism in thermodynamics. I'm looking for a small reference, to learn ...
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2answers
440 views

Question about entropy and “smart materials” (that remember shape)

We all know that entropy is the measure of chaos in the system, and it's always increasing in the system. Now comes my question - how does entropy work in smart materials? Here is a youtube video ...
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1answer
186 views

Does the molten salt used at projects such as Gemasolar need to be replaced after some cycles?

The project at Gemasolar uses molten salt to store heat. This heat is then used with water to drive steam turbines. Over time does this kind of repeated heat/cold cycle make the molten salt a less ...
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1answer
204 views

Temperature and latent heat

Building a bronze stature we make a mold and pour in the liquid bronze when the bronze hardens we remove the mold. The mold is made of 3 Kg of steel and the statue has a mas of 1 Kg. The specific ...
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2answers
3k views

Why I will feel colder when I get out from a swimming pool? [duplicate]

A friend of mine told me that because water heat capacity is higher. He also mentioned that it was similar to alcohol on skin effect. Assume that there are 3 situations. 1. I did not get wet 2. I got ...
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1answer
169 views

Determine the flow and amplitude equation for thermal energy (with Del operator)

It is a question vector calculus and Maxwell's laws. I put it this way. Let's say, we are working in a $3$-Dimensional space ( e.g $x\cdot y\cdot z = 4\cdot3\cdot2$, a certain room/class of that size ...
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1answer
490 views

Cause of sea ice freezing during an upwell event

One of the Episodes of BBC's documentary Frozen Planet describes an upwell phenomenon in the Antarctic Ocean. I am trying to understand the cause of seawater freezing when this upwell occurs. Liquid ...
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2answers
4k views

What is the relationship between Energy, Entropy, and Information?

What is the relationship between Energy, Entropy, and Information? I read this - What Is Energy? Where did it come from? - and the top answer says that 'energy' is an abstract number that is a ...
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1answer
65 views

What is the average total heat incident on Earth's surface each hour?

Just what the title states Some part or the other of this Globe faces approximately towards the Sun during each 24 hour period. What is the total amount of heat (in calories) incident on average ...
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2answers
360 views

Density of states via a Laplace transform

Is this formula correct? $$ \frac{-1}{\pi}Im\int_{0}^{\infty}\!dt~\exp(Et)\Theta (t)\exp(i \epsilon t) ~=~ \sum _{n}\delta (E-E_{n}), $$ $$ \Theta (t)~=~ \sum_{n}\exp(-tE_{n}) ,$$ and I have used ...
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0answers
59 views

What would happen to Earth if the Sun suddenly disappeared? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: If the earth left the solar system for interstellar space. How long would it take for atmosphere to freeze Suppose the Sun simply vanished, what would be the ...
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2answers
150 views

May molecules of ideal gases have an inner structure?

The following question is probably very elementary: whether molecules of ideal gases may have optic properties? As far as I understand, when one discusses optic properties, one assumes that molecules ...
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2answers
4k views

Why does Joule-Thomson expansion of a gas do no (external) work?

I understand one of the benefits of the Hampson-Linde cycle is that there are no cold-side moving parts, but isn't one losing an awful lot of energy in the throttling process? There must be something ...
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3answers
4k views

Why did my frozen water bottle explode when I opened it after it defrosted a bit?

Last night I filled a 20 fl oz bottle (http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/beverages/soft-drinks/boylans-mash.asp) with lukewarm water from my tap. I filled the bottle pretty much to the brim, ...
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1answer
286 views

Man on treadmill and energy/mass conservation

Suppose we put a very obese man inside a large air tight isolated room with a treadmill and he runs on the treadmill for 24 hours and at the end of the day he sees his weight has come down (mostly ...
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1answer
1k views

How to calculate specific heat capacity of an alloy

I have done an experiment in which I measured the specific heat capacity of a coin. I would like to compare the results to the actual value. I have found out that the coin is made of Cupronickel alloy ...
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2answers
52k views

How can a wooden spoon be used to prevent water from over boiling?

This is an image I found via StumbleUpon Does this actually work? If so, why?
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1answer
264 views

Loschmidt's paradox - really a paradox? [duplicate]

Is Loschmidt's paradox a paradox even today? In other words, is the paradox resolved or not?
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2answers
312 views

Second Law of Thermodynamics, heat and quantum-level explanation

I heard somewhere that the second law of thermodynamics is stating that some heat (energy) becomes unusable for work (at the scale of the whole universe). Why is it like that? Can't heat be converted ...
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1answer
1k views

Do materials cool down in the vacuum of space?

Do materials cool down in the vacuum of space? If yes, how does it really work?
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0answers
57 views

upper bound for the Kelvin scale [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is there no absolute maximum temperature? On the Kelvin scale, absolute zero represents the temperature at which there is no thermal motion. Consequently, speaking ...
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5answers
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Recommendations for Statistical Mechanics book

I learned thermodynamics and the basics of statistical mechanics but I'd like to sit through a good advanced book/books. Mainly I just want it to be thorough and to include all the math. And of course ...
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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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3answers
248 views

What are some creative illustrations of the nature of dissipative forces?

I'm teaching a conceptual introduction to physics for American 13-15 year old students this summer. One of the main ideas I want to hit on is the relationship between energy conservation, ...
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1answer
595 views

Wind Turbine Impact

OK, I'm not sure this is not a silly question, but here goes. I've often wondered what the impact is of wind turbines on the weather. My question is, since wind turbines transform wind energy into ...
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1answer
1k views

Ideal gas with two kinds of particles, Grand canonical partition function

Consider an ideal gas contained in a volume V at temperature T. If all particles are identical the Grand canonical partition function can be calculated using $$Z_g(V,T,z) := \sum_{N=0}^\infty z^N ...
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1answer
448 views

How does the entropy of a system change when the amount of substance changes?

I am thinking of a closed system consisting only of an ideal gas. Suddenly, the amount of substance of the gas changes. No other property of the system shall change. How does this affect the entropy ...
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1answer
745 views

Which formula for entropy is correct? (OR Is the fundamental thermodynamic equality always right?)

Quick question, in the lecture notes to a thermodynamic course I'm taking, $$d\underline{S}=\frac{d\underline{U}}{T}+\Big(\frac{\partial P}{\partial T}\Big)_{\underline{V}} d\underline{V}$$ But ...
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1answer
720 views

Entropy increase and end of the universe

While taking thermodynamics our chemistry teacher told us that entropy is increasing in day by day (as per second law of thermodynamics), and when it reaches its maximum the end of the world will ...
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2answers
571 views

How can one feel cold without touching it?

Let me explain. My shower is inconsistant in how hot it gets. Whenever I turn on the shower, I always put my hand really close to the water, but not touching it, so I can feel the heat radiate from ...
3
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2answers
636 views

Heuristics for specific heat capacities of solids

A didactic question publish in The Physics Teacher (http://tpt.aapt.org/resource/1/phteah/v41/i1/p8_s1) asks which will melt more ice: 100g of metal at 100C or 100g of wood at 100C. (The particular ...
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2answers
1k views

Specific heat capacity

Which of two objects at the same tempreature can cause more intense burns when you touch it: the one with the greater specific heat capacity or the one with the smaller specific heat capacity and why? ...
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1answer
306 views

Wasn't the Hawking Paradox solved by Einstein?

I just watched a BBC Horizon episode where they talked about the Hawking Paradox. They mentioned a controversy about information being lost but I couldn't get my head around this. Black hole ...
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2answers
178 views

Using CO2 to air condition a room

I'm trying to determine how much dry ice or liquid nitrogen I would need to cool 3300 cubic feet, about 90,000 liters of air, from about 100F (37.78C or 310K) to about 90F (26.67C or 299.81K). I'm ...
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0answers
46 views

What is the fluid approximation for BCS action?

For a system with free fermion gas at finite density (i.e. free Dirac action), we have an ideal fluid description with rho, p, n. What is the fluid description for BCS action? Suppose we have a box ...
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2answers
973 views

What causes a Phase-Transition?

A phase transition occurs when for example, heat is applied continuously to a liquid and after a certain time it converts into a gas. How does this process work in detail? Is their a chain reaction ...
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2answers
211 views

Why is latent heat required?

Why is latent heat required for a system to change its state? (I.e. liquid water to ice) Why the "extra" energy?
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3answers
675 views

Thermodynamics of cooking rice

The question is whether (1) cooking rice in a pot of boiling water for an hour and then leaving the pot (of water and rice) to cool to room temp heats my house the same amount as compared to (2) just ...
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1answer
2k views

What is the meaning of pressure of a solid?

Currently I'm taking an introductory course on thermodynamics. I've got a problem with understanding what is the meaning of pressure of a solid body. The question arose when I looked at phase diagram ...