# Would honey left for long time increase the temperature in isolated container?

This is purely theoretical question. Moreover, I am not a physicist, so I may write some stupid things. I'm sorry.

Back to the topic: I have heard about radioactive decay. Basically after some (sometimes long) period of time, half of atoms decay into lesser atoms, and some of the energy is released as a side effect.

This got me thinking - let's say that I have honey closed in some perfectly isolated container - I guess that's called the Isolated system. After some time, honey will eventually decay, and energy will be released. More and more energy will be released as time passes. Would the temperature increase as the result, or do I lack basic physics?

• I just have to ask, why honey? Why not something notoriously radioactive, just wondering? Thanks – user81619 Sep 25 '15 at 22:44
• @count_to_10 I know. Something radioactive would be probably much easier, since it decays quickly. But since it got me thinking after I was putting some honey to my tea; its properties that allow it to be edible even after long time. I could have changed it, but I thought that there's little difference. Also, I think that honey's more intriguing ;) – MatthewRock Sep 25 '15 at 23:12
• For most "normal" things, the heat will dissipate far faster than it's created during radioactive decay. If you create a perfectly closed system, which might be impossible, but if you do it somehow, then almost all food will emit some radiation and generate some heat through carbon-14 and some food by Potassium-40 but those are trace elements and the decay is very slow. The heat increase would be very very very gradual. Bananas have on rare occasion set of radiation detectors. – userLTK Sep 25 '15 at 23:33
• @userLTK I am aware that it's a slow process. I'm aware that it's probably impossible to create isolated system. But I take it as a thought experiment, which might teach me a thing or two, instead of a practical question(It's not like I'm going to hide honey in isolated system and I'm worried about it's nutritious values). – MatthewRock Sep 25 '15 at 23:39
• @userLTK "nutritional risk" -- aside from toxins generated by invading microbes :-) – Carl Witthoft Sep 26 '15 at 11:54

The vast majority of the atoms in most honey are not radioactive, and will not decay no matter how long you wait. For example, about 1 or 1.5 atoms per $10^{12}$ of the carbon atoms in honey will be $^{14}C$, so you will be getting virtually no heat out of their decay (certainly far less than the heat leaked through your inevitably imperfect insulation).