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360

I did the experiment. (dipping wins) H2O ice bath canning jar thermometer pot of boiling water stop watch There were four trials, each lasting 10 minutes. Boiling water was poured into the canning jar, and the spoon was taken from the ice bath and placed into the jar. A temperature reading was taken once a minute. After each trial the water was ...


111

Stirring will win, hands down, every time. This is why physicists need to talk to chemists once in a while. As Georg correctly remarks, the latent heat of vaporization of water is enormous - but he's wrong about waving the spoon; stirring is the champion here. Why? Temperature is really the average kinetic energy of the molecules in the bulk substance, ...


50

Ice cubes have three distinct cooling effects: The cube, initially at sub-zero temperature, absorbs some heat to reach fusion point (0⁰C). The cube absorbs more heat to switch phase: it takes some energy to turn 1 kg of ice at 0⁰C into 1 kg of liquid water at 0⁰C. The water absorbs some heat to become warmer than 0⁰C. The three effects occur more or less ...


47

You blow away the flame from its fuel source. If you would blow less hard the flame might burn harder because more air is supplied to the flame (similar to a Bunsen burner). Because normally the flame of a candle gets its oxygen through a convectional airflow generated by the heat of the flame. The reason why the flame is blown away from the candle is ...


41

How to cool a cup of coffee with the help of a spoon. Hmm... Empty the cup using the spoon, discarding the hot coffee. Strike the cup with the spoon, shattering it and forcing it to release the hot coffee. Drink the coffee with the spoon. Use the spoon to carve a cup-shaped hole in a large block of ice, put the cup in there. Put the spoon in the coffee, ...


37

Thanks a lot for your votes for the "answer" below. Unfortunately I think now the solution does not work. It is great for two slices, but that is the end. There is another solution that should give 3 slices, which is still a bit short. And I am afraid I do not see how to use the two available steps to start building a recursion :-) Why ? It is clearly ...


35

Petroleum engineers would all provide you with the same answer "use Compton scattering", as this is how the mass density of rock formations gets measured deep in oil wells. A more complete answer is: Compton scattering can provide you with a measurement of the bulk density of your head. Combine this with a volumetric measurement (dipping your head in a ...


33

Step 1: Take a trip to deep space (space suit recommended; means of transportation left as an exercise for the reader). It is important to compute the Hill sphere of your body to make sure it is large enough at this stage. Really it's a Hill-roughly-person-shaped-spheroid-blob, but feel free to assume a spherical you to simplify the calculation. Step 2: ...


31

I don't know if it qualify as home experiment, but you can use the internet to get access to thousands of kilometres of optical fibres for free. It allows you to measure the speed of light in the fibres, which is c/n, where n is the refractive index of glass, i.e. 1.5. This corresponds to 2×10⁸ m·s⁻¹. Using ping, you measure a roundtrip time, that is it ...


25

With respect to the content in the cup, all Your hampering with the spoon is irrelevant. Cooling of a hot coffee is achieved by vaporisation of water. At temperatures between 100 and say 50 °C the vapor pressure is so big, that the heat carried away by convection of the hot (and much less dense than air!) vapor dominates all other heat transfer ...


25

The ball is probably glowing because it has strontium aluminate in, which produces light by phosphoresence. It's a characteristic of phosphorescence that the light emission is quite long lived. This happens because when you shine light onto a phosphor the light promotes it into an excited state that subsequently decays by interactions with the solid lattice ...


24

I can't believe the density or material of the spoon hasn't been considered. If the spoon is very dense you can take it and wave it in the air in a 15° arc and say, "Dear waiter, if you don't put some cold milk in my coffee I will hit you between the eyes with this abnormally dense spoon". On the other hand, if its made of gold or silver you hold it ...


24

I would do it like this: The muscles of the neck have to be as relaxed as possible so that it approximates a flexible linkage, such that at some point along this linkage (which we can identify as the division between the head and the body, and thus the mass of the head includes a portion of the neck), if we separate the body into two free-body diagrams, ...


23

There is a trick I have heard about before but never tried. The basic idea is to put a mars bar in a microwave oven for a short amount of time. First you remove the turntable, so the chocolate bar stays stationary. Then you turn the microwave on just long enough for the chocolate to start to melt. It should melt at the nodes of the standing field. You simply ...


22

What a great question! And because anything that involves food is close to my heart I can answer with authority having done the experiments :-) There's a simple answer, a more complex answer and even an unexpected answer! The simple answer is that if you just want to boil off water you should leave the lid off. If you try the experiment of putting a known ...


22

It's a combination of two effects: buoyancy and adhesion. Buoyancy lifts the cork up as much as possible, until it displaces its own weight of water (Archimedes' principle). For this reason, the cork will seek the highest point of the water level. Because of adhesion between the water molecules and the glass, the water level is highest at the edges (the ...


20

in a blower, air is directed along the axis of the blower as it exits, creating a high pressure narrow cone. exit pressure can also be multiple times atmospheric pressure. at a sucker entry the low pressure zone is fed by a much wider angle of atmospheric air at atmospheric pressure. additionally the underpressure can at most be 1x atmospheric pressure. ...


19

Well, if you are only allowed to use a spoon, the fastest way to cool the coffee for drinking is to get a spoonful, blow on it, drink it from the spoon, take a next spoonful. Convection does wonders. If you are allowed a saucer instead of a spoon, pour a bit of coffee in the saucer, blow on it and drink it.


19

What seems to be happening is that capillary effects in the presence of gravity create a situation in which the cork being maximally decentralized in the glass corresponds to a minimum energy configuration. My guess is that the cork is non-wetting, and therefore surrounded by a water surface that bends down in the proximity of the cork, thereby creating a ...


19

Combustion is a gas phase reaction. There are two requirements to generate a stable flame. Firstly the temperature must be high enough to vapourise the combustible material (wax in this case), and secondly the temperature must be high enough to generate the activation energy needed for the reaction. Heat is needed because gas phase molecules of wax and ...


18

Let me first list all of the possibilities I considered that I later rejected. This is far from exhaustive, and I'm looking forward to seeing other people's creativity. Bad Ideas Sit on a tire swing with the fan pointing to the side. Point the fan up, measure speed of rotation of the system on the tire swing. Get a laser or collimated flashlight. Point ...


16

The answer may depend slightly on the humidity in the room (as that will determine the evaporative cooling rate), but basically your best bet is to increase the surface area of your coffee as much as possible and increase the rate of airflow over the coffee as much as possible (so that the local gradient of partial pressure of water vapor is as steep as ...


15

Lets take each case and make some calculation. So, the first case, waiting for 5 minutes than adding some cold water. Assume the following values: The initial "hot" temperature of the coffee $T_H=80^{\circ}C$ The temperature of the surrounding medium $T_m=23^{\circ}C$ Using Newtons cooling law $$\frac{dT}{dt}=-k(T-T_m)$$ and after a simple integration ...


15

Watch water going down a drain. It has a rotational symmetry and goes into a vortex, whose boundary conditions perpendicular to the flow cover an area much larger than the hole of the drain. Watch water coming out of a hose. The boundary conditions defining the vortex are to start with the area of the hose perpendicular to the motion. It is the same with ...


15

You send the box and liquid towards a barrier equipped with a gauge to measure force. The setup looks like: When the box hits the barrier it stops, but the liquid inside it keeps moving. A short time later the liquid hits the side of the box and it too stops moving. So when you record the force at the barrier as a function of time you will get two peaks, ...


14

If it's an incandescent bulb, it's because the whole operating principle of the bulb is based on getting the filament really hot, hot enough to glow. When you cut off the current, it stops heating the filament, so it cools down fairly rapidly, but there may be enough residual heat for a faint glow lasting a little while afterwards. If it's a CFL bulb or an ...


13

Dear Thomas, the diameter of the beams of these HeNe lasers is between 0.5 and 1 millimeter, so the power 1 mW is coming to $10^{-6}$ squared meters or so. The ratio of power and area is $10^{-3}/10^{-6} = 10^{+3}$ Watts per squared meter. On the other hand, when a 3W LED is watched from the distance 0.1 meters, the power of 3 W is divided to $4\pi R^2 = ...


13

The fastest method for cooling coffee (or hot chocolate, as I'm more likely to drink) I've discovered when I don't have a saucer or second cup is to ignore the spoon altogether. Without a saucer, spoon, or blowing, I first place my hands around the container without any insulation device and let my hands absorb as much heat as they can stand. I then move my ...


13

The fastest and coolest way to cool the coffee, with only a cup and spoon, that is also theoretically possible, is to throw all the coffee up in the air, and with somewhat well-coordinated movement catch it all in the cup as it falls down. This maximises the total surface area of the coffee with the air per time, and thus also the total heat transfer.


13

Pouring the milk in early on will leave the tea warmer than keeping it hot, then later pouring the milk in. Your assumptions (in the final paragraph) would be correct for most kinds of conductive heat transfer, but the dominant cooling process for an uncovered cup of tea will be evaporation. The details of the rate of evaporation will depend on how tricky ...



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