# Tagged Questions

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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### Why doesn't a Brownian ratchet provide free energy?

A Brownian ratchet is described here at Wikipedia. The "why it fails" section reads: Feynman demonstrated that if the entire device is at the same temperature, the ratchet will not rotate ...
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### Make a circuit so that it heats water as rapidly as possible

To do this I understand that we need to create the greatest power. What I don't understand is why would we need to use a parallel circuit instead of a series circuit to create the greater power?
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### Does Nucleation Occur during Phase Equilibrium?

I understand that during phase transition nucleation must occur. I'm wondering, once phase equilibrium is established, does nucleation still occur? For instance, in liquid-vapour equilibrium, does ...
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### Confusion about the Definition of Boiling Point

From the description of boiling here: Boiling is the rapid vaporization of a liquid, which occurs when a liquid is heated to its boiling point, the temperature at which the vapor pressure of the ...
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### Is a suit that hides a soldier's heat signature fundamentally possible?

I recently played "Crysis", a game where the protagonist wears a suit that allows the player to hide both himself and his heat signature. Then I watched Iron Man 3, where a kid suggests that Tony ...
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### Trying to calculate the length of a tube to heat Ar gas

If one were trying to heat Argon gas from ambient (~20C) through a mild steel tube of some diameter 'd' how long would it need to be? Additional unknown includes flow rate of Ar gas so some general ...
2k 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 isn'...
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### Two Limits in Thermodynamics - Reducing Driving Force and Increasing Resistance

I just wanted to clarify what is probably a very obvious idea. Suppose I'm holding a a piston separating two containers at different pressures. If I release the piston, it will naturally move, ...
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### Latent heat of solidification

What is the heat release mechanism involved in solidification from liquid phase? Is the energy transferred to nucleation centres?
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### 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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### Schwabl states that a change in external parameters cannot increase entropy. If so, how can an adiabatic process be irreversible?

I am working my way through trying to understand statistical physics, and this particular, apparent inconsistency has had me stuck for days. Any help or advice would be hugely appreciated. I was ...
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### Explanation for negative specific heat capacities in stars?

I've just found out that a negative specific heat capacity is possible. But I have been trying to find an explanation for this with no success. Negative heat capacity would mean that when a system ...
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### What is the actual energy content of the Sun?

Beside the energy released by nuclear fusion in the core, the Sun is a hot plasma of hydrogen and helium ranging from thousands to million of degrees. So how does that translate into energy ? I have ...
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### Why can we say that $\bar{d}Q=TdS$?

When we introduce entropy we do this by saying that: $$\bar{d}Q=TdS.$$ Now I was wondering why this should be true? I know that by looking at a Carnot cycle, we do get this relation for reversible ...
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### 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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### How can we tell if a molecule is in thermodynamic equilibrium from scattering data?

We have a molecule that is emitting/absorbing photons. We know the Hamiltonian and that there are several levels. We count the emitted photons at different angles and frequencies. We can also do ...
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### Why charge is an extensive property [duplicate]

While reading examples of extensive properties, I cam across electric charge. Can someone please explain to me why electric charge is considered to be an extensive property? We know that extensive ...
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### Can the effectiveness of a heat sink be increased with surface texturing?

Some supercapacitors use chemical etching to increase their surface area by several orders of magnitude. Could a similar process be used on a heat sink to increase its surface area and thus its ...
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### How much entropy is produced in evaporating water due to irreversible evaporation towards equilibrium (humidity=100%)?

$dS=dH/T_{boil}$ for the increase in entropy by changing a phase at saturation ($T=373\text K$ for $p=1\text {atm}$ for water). However, water also obviously evaporates below boiling point when ...
2k views

### Calculating Boltzmann constant using semiconductor

My task from the latest laboratory exercise in physics is to calculate Boltzmann constant from known temperature, current and voltage. We were given this circuit: By changing the resistor value, I ...
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### Work done in adiabatic reversible process

I was solving a problem on turbine.the steam works on turbine adiabatic reversibly .Is change in enthalpy or is it change in internal energy which equal this work?
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### Difference between heat and work

According to the Kinetic Theory of Matter, temperature is nothing but a measure of the kinetic energy of matter. My textbook says that the change in internal energy of a system is the heat gained plus ...
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### Is it possible to focus the radiation from a black body to make something hotter than that black body?

My previous question wasn't specific enough. I'll try to be more specific. Let's imagine we have a hot body let's say 6000K hot that emits lots of thermal radiation. Let's assume 1kW of radiative ...
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### Why does filling a compressed air cylinder produces heat?

And the opposite follow-up question: why does opening the air cylinder makes the air cooler? What I know is that I can't find these answers using the ideal gas law, because that is an equation of ...
8k views

### Is it possible to start fire using moonlight?

You can start fire by focusing the sunlight using the magnifying glass. I searched the web whether you can do the same using moonlight. And found this and this - the first two in Google search ...
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### Chemical potentials at triple point

How to prove that chemical potential of each phase at triple point are equal? My attempt: At phase transition, $P$ and $T$ are constant and using $dG=0$(Gibbs free energy at minimum) at equilibrium ...
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### What makes fluorescent lamps lower in heat than high pressure lamps coated with phosphorus?

Why does a fluorescent lamp give off more pure visible light (without heat) than a high-pressure lamp? Is the heat given off by high-pressure lamps caused by the intensity of light being emitted from ...
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### I have got some weird data after a homemade battery experiment

Okay, so i've been searching for some time, for perpetual motion machines of the second kind. So things got into my mind, such as this homemade solar cell. And i thought in my mind:" It's not the ...
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### Are critical exponents below and above the critical point always same?

The scaling relations don't distinguish the the critical exponents below and above the critical value. In the mean field level, I understand these critical exponents are same whatever one approaches ...
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### Density as a derivative of the Helmholtz energy

The equation of state for nitrogen has been formulated using the Helmholtz energy as the fundamental property with independent variables of density and temperature. The equation of state in ...
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### Nonlinear constitutive state equation

Between the Tait equation, and the B/A type of equation, which one is better suited to approximate the isentropic equation of state? Why B/A type is mostly used in nonlinear acoustics?
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### Is every imaginable quasi-static locus (with non-decreasing entropy) physically realisable?

If I have an isolated composite system which is dependent on several extensive properties (say $U_i, V_i$ and $N_i$ for each subsystem $i$) then a quasi-static locus is just a continuous curve through ...
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### Shock-waves, Bangs and the Speed of Sound

I was watching this video of an erupting volcano. Some Guys in the comments tried to estimate how far away the volcano is by using the delay until the "shock-wave" hits the camera and the speed of ...