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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Is thermodynamic reversibility a function of path?

Question: given a path taken by a system through state space, is it possible to make a statement such as 'that path corresponds to an irreversible process' or 'that path corresponds to a reversible ...
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3k views

Why does compressing a piston increase the internal energy?

When we compress a piston, its total internal energy increases, however I don't understand why. As the piston compresses, the temperature should change, as the total energy density increases. As a ...
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344 views

Is a black hole's surface area invariant for distant intertial observers?

Let's imagine I'm very far from any massive objects, so my local space-time is Minkowskian. Off in the distance is a black hole, far enough away that it doesn't noticeably curve space-time near me, ...
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Given constant T, why does P affect internal energy?

It has always bugged me that tables for water (and other) properties have the capability to look up internal energy as a function of both temperature and pressure. If we limit the discussion to ...
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Differentiating the ideal gas law

In reading Fermi's Thermodynamics, to show that $C_p = C_v + R$, the author differentiates the ideal gas law for a mole of gas ($PV = RT$) to obtain: $PdV + VdP = RdT$. Now, the only way I am able to ...
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832 views

What happens if you connect a hot resistor to a cold resistor?

Kind of an extension to this question: If you heat up an object, and put it in contact with a colder object, in an ideal insulated box, the heat from one will transfer to the other through thermal ...
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218 views

More detail on why pressure increases at the bottom of a column of gas

The question Why does the air pressure at the surface of the earth exactly equal the weight of the entire air column above it asks why the air pressure at any elevation is equal to the weight of the ...
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518 views

Physical significance of negative temperature

I read some answers regarding negative temperatures but I think my question is new. I want to know that what is the physical significance of negative temperature. Suppose I say a body has ...
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3k views

How to describe heat transfer between two solid materials?

A general equation for dealing with heat transfer between one material and a region of insulating material. I've seen basic heat transfer equations for one material, but I'd love to see an explanation ...
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8k views

How air humidity affects how much time is needed for heating the air?

In cold weathers it is suggested to put a humidifier since the air gets too dry. I wonder how the humidity affects how much time is needed to get the air at a temperature of 20 Celsius degrees? I mean ...
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Inflating a balloon (expansion resistance)

I am doing a quick calculation on how to calculate the pressure needed to inflate a perfectly spherical balloon to a certain volume, however I have difficulties with the fact that the balloon (rubber) ...
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1answer
122 views

Is temperature affected by gravitational potential?

Ok, I feel a bit silly asking this. I'm asking in relation to this question here on the molecular basis of hydrostatic pressure in a gas. There's been quite a bit of discussion and one of the ...
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185 views

What's the true reason behind thermal expansion?

Thermal expansion is a normal concept everyday. There are 2 explanations: 1, thermal expansion result in stress, then result in deformation 2, thermal expansion result in deformation, then result in ...
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678 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 ...
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1answer
146 views

What's the point with equilibrium in Thermodynamics?

All the Thermodynamics books I saw until now state that in Thermodynamics we are mainly concearned with equilibrium states (I know there's "non-equilibrium Thermodynamics", but I'm interested on the ...
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520 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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256 views

Why does my house seem to warm faster in summer than it cools in winter?

In summers when we switch off the air conditioner, the room seems to instantly get hot again. But in winter, when we switch off the heater the room seems to remain hot for some time. Why this ...
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820 views

What's the basic difference between heat and temperature?

Temperature is usually seen as a calibrated representation of heat but what about latent heat? Eg. Ice and water have different amounts of heat at 0 degree c.
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286 views

Slow thermal equilibrium

I have a question which is inspired by considering the light field coming off an incandescent lightbulb. As a blackbody radiation field, the light is in thermal equilibrium at temperature $T$, which ...
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Connection between entropy and energy

An isolated system $A$ has entropy $S_a>0$. Next, the isolation of $A$ is temporarily violated, and it has entropy reduced $$S_b ~=~ S_a - S,\space\space\space S\leq S_a.$$ Is it true to say: the ...
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526 views

Intuition behind the concept of heat

Even if elementary, I'm afraid I am still not comfortable with the concept of heat. I can picture heat as some kind of incompressible fluid that is transferred from a body to another in such a way ...
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2k views

How fast is heat transferred by conduction?

How fast is heat transferred by conduction? Is there some simple, but quantitative way that starts from some properties of the material (e.g. its thermal conductivity) and makes rough predictions, for ...
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956 views

What is more efficient: Add milk, and then heat up coffee in the microwave, or microwave than milk?

Adding milk first increases the volume to heat and lowers average temerature, but adding it afterwards seems to have similar effects. How can you compare the two?
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Calculation of entropy change in irreversible cycles, meaning of $\delta Q/T$ in irreversible processes

Lets take the two cycles in the pictures working with an ideal gas. We perform one, and than perform the other. The cycle is made reversible by making the gas exchange heat with a heat bath having ...
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Does the second law of thermodynamics take into consideration of attractive interactions between particles?

If one searches Google or textbooks on 2nd Law of Thermodnamics, one usually finds a statement that is either equivalent or implies the following. The entropy of the universe always increases. But ...
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329 views

Existence of gusts of wind, an anomaly?

Enthusiast + Student, not a pro, so pardon my ignorance. How can wind possibly flow in gusts? The way I understand it, a gust is a pocket of air which hits you at slightly higher speed. But how ...
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510 views

Is there any optical component that uniformizes the incoming light?

Is there any optical component in existence that uniformizes randomly pointing rays?
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How does Infrared Relate to heat?

I never understood the relationship between Infrared and Heat. Is IR emitted when heat is generated, is heat generated when IR is made, and how do the two relate?
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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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Does an object's color change its rate of cooling?

The motivation for this question comes directly from this thread. The proposition is that the color of something changes how fast it cools (note: specifically the rate of cooling, not taking into ...
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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 ...
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1answer
2k 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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2answers
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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What are typical values of the critical thickness of insulation?

As most people who've had any elementary heat transfer course are aware, when insulating a pipe, wire, etc, there is a critical thickness for the insulation below which it causes greater heat transfer ...
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853 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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149 views

Is amount of entropy subjective?

From all sources I have seen it follows that the proof you can't decrease the amount of entropy in the Universe is given only statistically - the order is just one of the many ways how things can be ...
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1answer
194 views

How does the entropy change during the cooling of a hot coffee in a cold cup?

The second Law of Thermodynamics states that entropy always increases in the universe: things become more disorganised. This means, that if I have a hot coffee in a cold cup, then the heat will ...
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156 views

Simplest way to analytically determine whether a claimed heat transfer process obeys the second law of thermodynamics?

I want to find the simplest method to determine whether a proposed heat transfer process violates the second law of thermodynamics. Specifically I am looking for a method that meets the following ...
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236 views

Why does room temperature water and metal feel almost as cool as each other?

From what I've read about heat, temperature and conductivity, I understand that the reason water at room temperature feels colder than most other things at the same temperature (like wood, air, ...
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1answer
122 views

Unmixing of gases: What is the relevant temperature for my Entropy?

This answer to a question about unmixing gases states: However, let us now assume we have to hand a source of mechanical work, and a large heat reservoir at temperature $T$. I'll assume that ...
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459 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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134 views

Temperature of thermally isolated space region

If we thermally isolate a region in space, say using a hypothetical material of $0$ conductivity, and measure the region's temperature, will it be 2.7K?
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332 views

What is meant by boiling off electrons in a heater coil?

In my electricity and magnetism course, we used a Thompson tube to produce an electron beam. There is a heating element at the back of the tube and the lab manual claims that "electrons are boiled ...
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1k views

Must a reversible engine be a carnot engine?

I have this homework question: "Show that any reversible engine operating between T1 and T2 is a carnot engine." I think I have a solution, but it feels very hand-wavy. We know that any process that ...
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1answer
163 views

Uncertainty and Thermodynamics

Dilemma The uncertainty principle of energy and the 2nd law of thermodynamics don't add up : the uncertainty principle of energy says that $\Delta \tau \cdot \Delta E \ge \frac{h}{4\pi} = ...
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448 views

Irreversible expansion and time reversal symmetry

Suppose there are N non-interacting classical particles in a box, so their state can be described by the $\{\mathbf{x}_i(t), \mathbf{p}_i(t) \}$. If the particles are initially at the left of the box, ...
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Which one is colder? Zero temperature ice or zero temperature water?

I like to understand that which one of the following items seems colder, when we touch them? zero temperature ice zero temperature water Why? Thank you.
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264 views

100°C = 100 K =?

I'm in first year. Our class is in lesson " Heat and Thermodynamics". While solving a numerical problem of a reversible engine he told us that 100 degree Celsius is equal to 100 kelvin. I inquired but ...
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586 views

Carnot Engine for Finite Reservoirs

Two solid, finite thermal reservoirs have temperatures of $T_1$ and $T_2$ respectively and an engine operates between the two. Assume $T_1 > T_2$ and that each reservoir has constant heat capacity ...
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608 views

Reversible Stirling Engine

So it has been asserted that a Stirling engine with proper regeneration can be made reversible. It will consist of two isothermal quasi-static processes connected by two constant-volume processes. The ...