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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How is it possible that it can get hotter in the car than it is outside?

The Law of Thermodynamics says that two bodies will eventually have equal temperatures. How is it possible that when you leave your car in the sun, it gets hotter in the car than it is outside? Why ...
18
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1answer
1k views

How long would it take for a smelly object to evaporate?

This question is a follow on from this deleted one: http://physics.stackexchange.com/q/177894/26076 as I was writing what I thought to be a valid physics answer to it. Version 1 of this question ...
9
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2answers
10k 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 ...
8
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2answers
485 views

Chemical potential in Thermodynamics

In many scenarios, on computing the partial derivative of the internal energy (U) with respect to mole number (N) is negative. This implies that adding more moles of the substance decreases the U of ...
6
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1answer
110 views

What is the physical meaning of fact, that Reissner-Nordstrom black hole is thermodynamically unstable?

It is known, that Reissner-Nordstrom black hole is thermodynamically unstable [1]. Does it mean, that there is no Reissner-Nordstrom black hole in physical world? Does it mean, that there may be ...
5
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1answer
219 views

Fluids in thermodynamic equlibrium

I am reading about the Euler equations of fluid dynamics from Leveque's Numerical Methods for Conservation Laws (Amazon link). After introducing the mass, momentum and energy equations, some ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Greatest volumetric heat capacity

Is there any substance with bigger volumetric heat capacity than water? According to this table water has the biggest known VHC. But I can't believe that in the 21. century we have no special material ...
5
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3answers
569 views

Can temperature be defined as propensity to transmit thermal energy?

I was recently surprised to learn that defining temperature isn't easy. For a long time, it was defined operationally: how much does a thermometer expand. Also surprising, temperature isn't a ...
4
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3answers
924 views

How much heat from a fire actually warms your home?

A fire in a hearth disperses heat to, I guess, three places: the bricks of the chimney out the hearth (where the person tending the fire is standing) out the chimney, above the house How would you ...
4
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4answers
1k views

Mathematical proof of the Second Law of Thermodynamics [duplicate]

Is there some book or paper that formalizes statistical mechanics, like some people have done with relativity, and proves the second law of thermodynamics from more foundational axioms?
4
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1answer
266 views

Does a universe experiencing “heat death” have a temperature?

As defined by Wikipedia: The heat death of the universe is a suggested ultimate fate of the universe in which the universe has diminished to a state of no thermodynamic free energy and ...
4
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2answers
380 views

Entropy of a naked singularity

According to the wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naked_singularity: "Some research has suggested that if loop quantum gravity is correct, then naked singularities could exist in nature, ...
4
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2answers
192 views

Is there a general form for heat capacity?

Can you derive a general form (not keeping either volume or pressure constant) for heat capacity from the first law of thermodynamics? Do you have to make any assumptions to do so? It sounds trival, ...
4
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3answers
588 views

Is there a mechanism for time symmetry breaking?

Excluding Thermodynamic's arrow of time, all mathematical descriptions of time are symmetric. We know the arrow of time is real and we know the equations describing physics are real so is there any ...
4
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1answer
80 views

thermodynamics of a dual-face surface in space

This question is a continuation from this one. A material disk have two sides, one that is reflective and another absorptive of electromagnetic radiation in the range where the background cosmic ...
4
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3answers
433 views

How many particles is needed to observe a phase transition?

This is a question that was rised when we were discussing "what is melting actually". How many particles you need to form a liquid or solid. I have some remarks to point out what I want to know. Q: ...
4
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2answers
530 views

What are the easiest to get/make LN2 superconductors?

I am starting to build multistage Peltier cooler at the moment, and it should be able to reach -100C at least (but if I fail I can always get boring LN2). Doing some experiments with superconductors ...
3
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0answers
163 views

Explicit form of the entropy production in hydrodynamics

I'm trying to understand how hydrodynamics arise from a precise, mathematical formulation of thermodynamics, learning mostly from Landau's "Hydrodynamics". So Landau starts from formulating the ...
3
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2answers
4k views

Would being underwater help survive a nuclear bomb?

If I jump in my pool, on the river near my house knowing that a nuclear bomb, or atomic or H-Bomb exploded around 10 km from my house, would I survive? The way I see it is that water will protect me ...
3
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1answer
255 views

How do you explain the fact that when air expands freely into an evacuated chamber from a constant pressure atmosphere, its temperature increases?

I came across this paper: Baker, B. (1999). An easy to perform but often counterintuitive demonstration of gas expansion. American Journal of Physics, 67(8), 712-713. ...
3
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5answers
2k views

Does entropy increase or decrease as our Universe is expanding?

Scientists say that entropy of our universe is increasing as it is expanding and our universe is cooling down gradually from the time of its birth. If something is getting cooler and cooler, then how ...
3
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1answer
3k 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.
3
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1answer
1k views

What is non-thermal plasma?

I read about non-thermal plasma, but I still have some questions: The ions and neutral particles are not in thermal equilibrium with the electron, does that mean that the overall temperature is low ...
3
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1answer
509 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 ...
3
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4answers
1k views

What are the arguments towards the Life-and-Entropy relation?

I've heard it from a few people, and I've seen it popup here in the site a couple of times. There seems to be speculation (and studies?) towards this idea, and this is what I've picked up so far: ...
2
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1answer
210 views

Increasing the efficiency of solar cell systems

As far as I know, there are currently two main approaches to utilising solar radiation for maximum energy conversion to electricity. These are either direct conversion to electricity, using ...
2
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4answers
149 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 ...
2
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3answers
237 views

Why is Entropy's Definition Useful?

I have somewhat of an understanding for other physical quantities, but as far as entropy goes I only know it to be "disorder". Why is the change in entropy formula an appropriate/useful definition, ...
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3answers
339 views

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 ...
0
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2answers
390 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?
0
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1answer
359 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 ...
14
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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 ...
14
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2answers
30k views

What exactly is the difference between advection and convection?

After reading Wikipedia articles on advection and convection, I still cannot determine whether there is a consensus on a difference between these two terms. Sometimes, the term convection seems to ...
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3answers
2k views

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 ...
9
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3answers
338 views

How do greenhouse gases trap heat?

I am looking for a molecular-level understanding of the greenhouse effect. What is it about the carbon-dioxide molecule (and methane, and water, etc) that is different from other gasses ...
9
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5answers
10k views

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?
8
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8answers
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Entropy increase vs Conservation of information (QM)

Unitarity of quantum mechanics prohibits information destruction. On the other hand, the second law of thermodynamics claims entropy to be increasing. If entropy is to be thought of as a measure of ...
8
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2answers
3k views

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 ...
8
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2answers
633 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 ...
8
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8answers
13k 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?
8
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2answers
415 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 ...
7
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3answers
174 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 ...
7
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3answers
2k 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 ...
7
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1answer
262 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 ...
7
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4answers
665 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 ...
7
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1answer
902 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 ...
6
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2answers
2k 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 ...
6
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2answers
2k 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, ...
6
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3answers
15k 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 ...
6
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2answers
271 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! ...