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87

Air molecules $(\require{mhchem}\ce{N2_}$ and $\ce{O_2})$ have an average velocity of around $500\text{ m/s}$, varying some depending on the temperature. This means that a nice $5\text{ m/s}$ wind is a hundred times slower, and the energy represented by wind is 10,000 times smaller than the thermal energy. Therefore, wind does not have considerably more ...


61

Short answer: The thermometer measures actual temperature (which is the same for both), while your hand measures the transfer of energy (heat), which is higher for the pot than the air. Long answer: Keyword: Thermal Conductivity The difference is a material-specific parameter called thermal conductivity. If you are in contact with some material (gas, ...


51

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 ...


48

Moonlight has a spectral peak around 650nm (the sun peaks at around 550nm). Ordinary solar cells will work just fine to convert it into electricity. The power of moonlight is about 500,000 times less than that of sunlight, which for a solar constant of 1000W/m^2 leaves us with about 2mW/m^2. After accounting for optical losses and a typical solar cell ...


47

No. Boiling itself doesn't mean that the water will cook anything. If you have boiling water at 30°C you could touch it (if we forget that it's at really low pressure) and nothing would happen. Boiling is not what cooks, but temperature. In fact, if you want to purify water at high altitudes, you need to boil water for a longer time because it will be at a ...


45

It's obviously not a sharp cut-off, but as a general guide sound waves cannot propagate if their wavelength is equal to or less than the mean free path of the gas molecules. This means that even for arbitrarily low pressures sound will still propagate provided the wavelength is long enough. Possibly this is stretching a point, but even in interstellar gas ...


41

To sustain a fire, you need three factors: fuel, oxygen, and heat. Take away one of the three and the fire goes out. Water removes heat. Most of this "removing heat" is the evaporation - roughly 540 calories / gram, so 7x more heat than is needed to get water from 20°C to boiling (with a tip of the hat to @Jasper for pointing out erroneous value in earlier ...


40

The factors that most matter when you are near lava: The fractional solid angle of lava as subtended at the observer ("how much lava do you see") The temperature of the lava The reflectivity of the clothing you are wearing Any effect of air flow (wind blowing towards lava or away from it) Toxic fumes... In essence, if we treat lava as a black body ...


39

While I agree in principle with David Lynch's answer, I think it's good to take a closer look at the phase diagram (adapted from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/46/Carbon_basic_phase_diagram.png): I added the arrows to show possible paths you might follow. Red path: diamond would become graphite before melting; the molten carbon becomes ...


35

No, it is not possible to hide a person's heat signature indefinitely. Even with the best suit imaginable, you will eventually either begin leaking the heat, overheating the person, or both. One problem is that there are no perfect thermal insulators. This means that you must either use the best available and keep emissions below some threshold of ...


34

Because the liquid would boil away. Boiling is what happens when the partial pressure of a liquid exceeds the ambient pressure. Liquids have higher partial pressure as they get hotter, so we usually associate boiling with high temperature. For example, water needs to be heated to 100°C to boil at 1 atmosphere ambient pressure. However, pressure is ...


32

Landauer's principle (original paper pdf | doi) expresses a non-zero lower bound on the amount of heat that must be generated by computers. However, this entropy-necessitated heat is dwarfed by the heat generated through ordinary electrical resistance of the circuitry (the same reason light bulbs give off heat).


32

We can only approach absolute zero asymptotically because we can't suck heat out of a system. The only way we can get heat out is to place our system in contact with something cooler and let the heat flow from hot to cold as it usually does. Since there is nothing colder than absolute zero, we can never get all the heat to flow out of a system. We can ...


30

Short Answer The information is contained in the heat given off by erasing the information. Landauer' Principle states that erasing information in a computation, being a thermodynamically irreversible process, must give off heat proportional to the amount of information erased in order to satisfy the second law of thermodynamics. The emitted information is ...


28

The separation does not violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics, because the oil and water phases being separate is a lower energy state. The water molecules strongly interact with each other, forming hydrogen bonds. The protons of water are shared between two oxygen atoms of two different water molecules, forming a constantly changing network of molecules. ...


26

I got close enough to slowly flowing lava to stick a rock hammer in it, but you had to pull back quickly -- it felt like a bonfire. It was tolerable 8 feet away. The lava was about 6 inches thick, oozed less than an inch per second and showed orange-red on an advancing toe that was only about six inches in diameter. The rest of the flow was silvery black ...


25

We want to show that "infinitesimal" changes in heat along a given path in thermodynamic state space can be modeled via a differential 1-form conventionally called $\delta Q$. The strategy. We introduce a certain kind mathematical object called a cochain. We argue that in thermodynamics, heat can naturally be modeled by a cochain. We note a mathematical ...


23

The answer is a combination of physics and physiology. The warm water in the shower very quickly heats up the air in the shower, and warms up your skin. It also drives up the humidity of the air in the shower. You acclimate very quickly to the temperature/humidity conditions in the shower as being "normal". With the door left open a crack, you allow ...


21

First, strictly speaking a neutron star is not a nucleus since it is bound together by gravity rather than the strong force. Measuring a surface temperature for any star is deceptively simple. All that is needed is a spectrum, which gives the luminous flux (or similar quantity) as a function of photon wavelength. There will be a broad thermal peak somewhere ...


20

@AMCDawes gives a well reasoned explaination of how the physics would play out. However in the scenario depicted by Dawes, he leaves out the part whereby we reintroduce the poor hapless subject to air (I assume 20% oxygen @ STP). If we duty cycle this quickly enough the hair would definitely reignite [citation needed]*. The issue is that flammable ...


20

At least one point in your favour is that the light we receive from the Moon has barely anything to do with its temperature. Instead it is mostly a secondary light source "reflecting" light from the Sun towards us. The second point in your favour (I think) is that the thermodynamic argument seems pretty weak. We are not trying to make Earth as hot as the ...


20

Ahem, I come to you from Seasoned Advice (cooking). As Beta suggested, questions like this one would not be uncommon there. The agitation of boiling water has nothing to do with cooking pasta except in that it helps keep the pasta from sticking. Whether it makes good pasta to hydrate it without heat (or at least a lot of heat) is a source of some debate, ...


19

Your statement is somewhat subjective, so really can only be answered by trying to put together what thoughts about physics such great physicists were thinking when they made their statements. Firstly, the laws of thermodynamics have very different origins and putative theoretical justifications and indeed the Eddington quote only talks about the second. I ...


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 ...


19

It's not poop. It's fly barf. A fly spends about 25% of its time re-digesting and it only can eat liquids. It mixes the eaten food with the appropriate enzyme for digestion. The fly does this by retrieving the eaten food from its digestive system (a vomit of sorts), and drop by drop it is placed on the surface on which the fly is sitting. Only then is it ...


18

It can't be from the moisture in the air. If there was enough moisture in the air to produce condensation then it would be condensing on everything. There would actually be less of it condensing on the tailpipe, because the tailpipe is quite warm. In fact the water is generated by the combustion of the fuel in the car. It comes from the hydrogen in the ...


18

That is the Leidenfrost effect. If the surface is hot enough, a layer of vapor exists between the hot surface and the droplet, insulating the droplet from the full heat. The droplet levitates above the hot surface.


18

MSalters already said "yes". I would like to expand on that by computing the change. Let's take a 10 kg cannon ball, made of lead. Heat capacity of 0.16 J/g/K means that in dropping from 1000 K to 100 K it has lost $10000\cdot 900 \cdot 0.16 \approx 1.4 MJ$. This corresponds (by $E=mc^2$) to a mass of $1.6 \cdot 10^{-11} kg$ or one part in $6\cdot 10^{11}$. ...


18

For the sake of answering your question as asked, we'll assume you can in fact pump out all the air in the room instantaneously. By "all the air" we'll assume we can drop the pressure to something quite low but not ultra-high-vacuum. Two scenarios suggest that this would work: The first is the fact that humans have survived at near-vacuum conditions for up ...



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