A few days ago, I came up with this paradoxical conundrum:
Let's say we have a gas enclosed in a container. Supplying heat to it will cause an increase in the (magnitude of?) vibration of gas particles in the medium. Increasing the pressure of the gas in the container (say by decreasing its volume) will increase the extent of vibration too. So what differs pressure from heat?
After a bit of thought, I could find some potential flaws/counter-logics to my proposal -
- Hotness is a sensation that a living body feels (by virtue of some receptor or something...)
- Hence the physical expression of the supply of heat may be the same as that of the supply (excess) pressure.
- The effect on the motion of gas molecules does not necessarily determine anything.
I think it'd be fair to admit though, the general "postulate" (if I am not wrong!?) that the supply of heat increases the randomness of the motion of particles in any medium.
This leads me to infer some interesting (but perhaps flawed) consequences -
When we feel hot, that sense must have something to do with the increase in the randomness of the motion of the "heat-receptor molecules" in the skin, and maybe their collision amongst themselves... (is this how they work?)
The way "heat receptor molecules" can be excited (vibrated), is by supply of radiant energy, for that would be the best way to get them excited fast (because otherwise your only option left is to mechanically vibrate them)
This means a patch of radiant energy is integral and necessary to feeling hot
One possible flaw in this silly little thought-experiment of mine could be that our heat receptors work chemically. Meaning that electron transfer plays the pivotal role in the sensation of heat, not inter-molecular collision.
Then again, some form of radiant energy is necessarily absorbed to push the electrons out of atoms and cause the biochemical reaction that occurs everytime we feel heat. This radiant energy can't be anything other than radiant heat.
The reason I propose is simple - if radiant heat is not the "electron-pusher", something else is, then heat is not a factor to feeling hot (as that something else may push the electron at any other time, even when heat isn't supplied, and we may feel hot!) Otherwise, let's consider heat is the electron pusher, but some other form of it - convection or conduction. Conduction and convection both rely on molecules moving. I guess molecules can't push electrons out! So it must be radiant heat, I believe...
As a final summary of my paradox, here are the riddles that are forced, if the aforesaid inferences be true -
If the electron-push theory of heat reception be true, touching a hot metal wouldn't feel anything - Heat is conducted through metals, with molecules vibrating and making the heat flow. Molecules can't vibrate and displace electrons, right?! So we must not feel heat at all!
Else if molecular collision theory of heat reception be true, pressure and heat would be the same to feel - Cause you know, both are, after all, molecules striking your skin! What's the difference?
Or else -
Every kind of heat - conduction or convection, or even radiation - principally flows as a "stream" of radiant energy flowing through a medium or without any medium at all. The side effects of this flow of radiant energy, when it is flowing through a medium, include molecular vibration (conduction), random molecular motion (convection) and electron-donation on supply of energy.
I used the word "stream" of radiant energy, because the "side effects" (as I proposed) seems to me almost as if small channels dividing out of a stream...
That basically summarises my proposal at the conclusion, that what essentially transfers heat through a metal rod, when held near a furnace, is never the vibration of the particles of the rod. But the flow of radiant heat of the furnace that goes through the rod.
My question is, obviously, am I right? How much? Where am I wrong? P.S.- I feel I'm wrong in a lot of places, so just maybe enlist where I'm right; that'll reduce your workload...