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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What kind of cooling mechanism could be used in outer space?

This question arises out of this question on Quora - Apollo 11: 1969 Moon Landing: Did Neil Armstrong really land on the moon? I'm convinced with most of the explanations provided in the first ...
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5answers
1k views

Second law of Thermodynamics: Why is it only “almost” always true that entropy is non-decreasing? [duplicate]

Wikipedia - Second law of thermodynamics: ...the entropy of any closed system not in thermal equilibrium almost always increases. I understand that the second law of thermodynamics is based on ...
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3answers
767 views

Second law of thermodynamics and a bunch of magnets

Say I put a bunch of powerful square magnets on a nearly frictionless table in a disordered fashion. The second law of thermodynamics states that the system shall spontaneously get more disordered, ...
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3k views

Heat in the car during sunny day

Why is it hotter inside an isolated car (air conditioning is off) than outside during a sunny day in summer?
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78 views

Difference between sound and heat at particle level

If heat (or thermal energy) are vibrations of particles and sound is a wave that is propagated through medium e.g vibration of air particles, what indicates if vibration of particles will be perceived ...
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100 views

Are galaxies, stars, planets, and ultimately life in violation of the second law of thermodynamics? [duplicate]

How can we think about entropy in these situations? To my knowledge all of these structures are born out of gravitational interaction. However, it would seem that the formation of these more organized ...
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459 views

Is it possible for the entropy in an isolated system to decrease?

As far as I can tell, the concept of entropy is a purely statistical one. In my engineering thermodynamics course we were told that the second law of Thermodynamics states that "the entropy of an ...
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700 views

Performance of a thermos bottle relative to contents

I'm not a physicist but I majored it at high school (a long time ago) and I study university math. Me and my roommate discussed whether the performance of a Thermos bottle is influenced by how full ...
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2answers
301 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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1answer
330 views

Error in Sear's and Zemansky's University Physics with Modern Physics 13th Edition (Young and Freeman)?

I was reading up on the Ideal Gas Equation in University Physics with Modern Physics by Young and Freeman when I chanced upon a seemingly illogical mathematical equation. Can anyone rectify this ...
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422 views

Have negative pressures any physical meaning?

Some cubic thermodynamical equations of state predict negative pressures, have negative pressures any physical meaning? Could they be related to negative mass?
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How can my water cool down more quickly?

I have a cup and I can only pour hot water inside, I wanna know whether the heat will dissipate more quickly with more water or less water? How about the occasion when my cup is well covered?
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465 views

Order of phase transitions

I got to read things like In case of a first order phase transition, the volume and temperature change in a discontinuous manner. However for phase transitions of higher order the change in ...
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1answer
825 views

Time it takes for Temperature Change

I have just been thinking about it for a while and would like to see if there is a way to do this problem. The Setup: We have an insulated cup with mass $m_c$ and specific heat $s_c$. The cup is at ...
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1answer
2k views

Why is the lid of the cookware kept on induction cooker not hot?

Induction cookware cooks food by inducing an electro magnetic field in the ferro-magnetic cookware. Since iron offers a lot of resistance to the current, the current is converted into heat in the ...
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3answers
663 views

What is the most efficient way to use hand dryer?

What's the most efficient way to place your hands under the hand dryer? Let's assume that dryer creates simple downward flow of hot air. Here are some examples:
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2answers
320 views

How might a resonant antenna and black body radiation interact?

How does an antenna behave when it is cooled so that its black-body radiation is emitting energy at its resonant frequency? Edit: To clarify, its not how they're related in general, but how might ...
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4answers
644 views

2nd Law of Thermodynamics

I understand that the 2nd law of thermodynamics roughly states that, if you have a body (or a gas in a chamber) that is hot at one end and cold on the other, the heat will always flow from the hot to ...
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1answer
46 views

The relation between energy quanta of an Einstein solid and the equipartition value of heat capacity

Consider an Einstein solid with quantized energy values $U=q\epsilon$ and $N$ oscillators. I calculated some values of an Einstein solid numerically through a function in R (at the bottom of the ...
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1answer
51 views

A gas close to zero Kelvin

Consider an adiabatic expansion of an ideal gas that work is done against friction or a piston. Since no heat exchange can occur the gas keep on losing energy and its temperature decreases and the gas ...
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97 views

Is there a relation between (non-) existence of magnetic monopoles and thermodynamics?

This question follows on previous work on connections between (other) areas of physics and thermodynamics as in here, here and even here. P. Dirac (an electrical engineer initially) was one of the ...
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5answers
361 views

If I replace all my lights with LEDs will my heating costs increase?

A number of nations are passing bills to phase out incandescent light bulbs. The thinking is that the tungsten filament is an inefficient method of turning electricity into light, the rest of the ...
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1answer
1k 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.
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commutator to entropy in an uncertainty relationship?

Question: Does there exist a commutator to entropy in an uncertainty relationship? Similar Energy and time for instance.
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Can one get clear ice crystals from a dirty suspension?

Euteictic freeze crystallization is a method where an electrolytic solution is cooled and separated into a stream of (relativly) clean, pure ice and a salty brine. I know anectdotally of wine ...
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3answers
496 views

Why the temperature is getting lower when the universe is expanding

As we know, if an ideal gas expands in vacuum, as its energy is unchanged, the temperature remains the same. An ideal gas's energy does not depend on volume. In general, the energy is $kT$ times the ...
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248 views

The definition of entropy

As history of thermodynamics say, it was a mystery that what is the required condition for a given energy conversion to take place? Like there are two possible events each conserving energy but only ...
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1k views

Are information conservation and energy conservation related?

as evident from the title, are both, conservation of energy and conservation of information two sides of the same coin?? Is there something more to the hypothesis of hawking's radiation other than ...
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Which is more efficient, heating water in microwave or electric stove?

So our propane tank in the kitchen ran out again today. Which is more energy efficient, boiling water in a microwave on an electric stove? All things being equal i.e. starting temperature and mass ...
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2answers
9k views

Why does a gas get hot when suddenly compressed? What is happening at the molecular level?

My guess is that the molecules of gas all have the same speed as before, but now there are much more collisions per unit area onto the thermometer, thus making the thermometer read a higher ...
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3answers
753 views

Why is a hot air balloon “stiff”?

1) Why is a hot air balloon stiff? 2) Is the pressure inside the balloon higher than the pressure outside (atmospheric pressure)? 3) If the pressure inside is higher than the outside, how is it ...
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Followup to: The relation between energy quanta of an Einstein solid and the equipartition value of heat capacity

As a followup question to this question: The relation between energy quanta of an Einstein solid and the equipartition value of heat capacity and this answer ...
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1answer
57 views

Total multiplicity and entropy of Einstein solids

This is really a question to get a little more insight about a homework exercise. 1. In my text book, the sum of multiplicities for all possible macrostates is given to be: $$\sum ...
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1answer
45 views

Does the energy required to increase a volume of water's temperature increase as that temperature increases?

Obviously in a simple, classroom style experiment the energy required to increase water temperature is a constant and thus wouldn't change, but what if we made the experiment just slightly more real ...
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1answer
84 views

Can you extract energy from “hot” things without a temperature differential?

I've been reading about extracting energy from heat, particularly Sterling engines. There's always a temperature gradient. Heat flows from the hot side to the cold side through the working fluid. As ...
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201 views

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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58 views

EM Radiation and Heat

If there is EM radiation, will there always be a heat exchange between the wave and its surroundings? If you have an extremely energy-efficient light bulb that converts ALL the energy it receives into ...
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1answer
269 views

How is NASA's mod II Stirling engine so powerful yet so small?

Is it because of the temperature difference? I just don't understand how it can propel a car. Here's the link to the engine: ...
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144 views

Separation of variables in various PDEs, physical meaning

The method of separation of variables produces an undetermined separation constant and a family of solutions indexed by the values of this constant. For instance, in the case of an infinitely long ...
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79 views

Behavior of gasses, ideal and otherwise

I'm trying to help a child research a science project on refrigeration. Refreshing my incredibly rusty thermodynamics skills.... The ideal gas law: $PV=nRT$. Let's take air at STP: $P = 101\,kPa$ $V ...
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commutators in an uncertainty relationship derived from a partition function?

The maximum information principle for the discrete case gives rise to a partition function (>>> see details here) $$Z(\lambda_1,\ldots, \lambda_m) = \sum_{i=1}^n \exp\left[\lambda_1 f_1(x_i) + \cdots ...
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1answer
316 views

Can we make a Maxwell's Demon using Quantum Computers?

Although I'm reasonably sure that quantum computing advances will not lead to the ability to construct a machine that globally violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics, it feels like a difficult ...
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1answer
151 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
313 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
862 views

Maximum efficiency for a counter-current heat exchanger (double flux controlled motorized ventilation)

I am not sure if I can explain the question correctly because I don't know the name of this mechanism in English. This is my explanation attempt: In a house, a tube is expelling the air from the ...
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2answers
214 views

If I put 3 bottles of water next to each other in the fridge, which one is cold first?

I was wondering: If I put three bottles of water next to each other in the fridge, which one is cold first? Does it matter? Is it the one in the middle because it gets refrigerated by the other two? ...
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2answers
1k views

Extracting heat energy from a material

Does it violate any physical laws to take a portion of the energy out of a system and use it? Specifically I'm referring to heat. (Kinetic energy). For example, if you have a material which has a lot ...
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2answers
62 views

Why cannot wood be fully burnt?

Burning wood emits smoke and black. Provided more oxygen or whatever required, can wood be practically burnt fully like petroleum gasses that emits a blue flame and little smoke and little black.
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150 views

What would give us more heat ? infrared or microwaves?

As we know that our body is made up mostly of water and the frequency of vibration of water molecules matches that of microwaves which is the working principle of microwave ovens. When we come in ...
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1answer
123 views

What are the experimental observations behind the first principle of thermodynamics?

As far as I understand it, the first principle of thermodynamics is a mere definition of the quantity “Heat”: $$\text d Q: = \text d L + \text d U.$$ This is somewhat the point of view taken in ...