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Temperatures & Thermodynamics

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Important Thermodynamic Equations and Formulas

Thermodynamics is filled with equations and formulas. Here’s a list of the most important ones you need to do the calculations necessary for solving thermodynamics problems. [more…]

Conversion Factors for Physical Measurements

Sooner or later, you’re going to have to convert from one unit of physical measurement to another. This list gives you some of the most common conversion factors you need in thermodynamics. [more…]

Physical Constants in Thermodynamics

You run across a few physical constants when working out thermodynamics problems. Following is a list of the constants you need when you’re working with potential energy, pressure, or the ideal gas law [more…]

Thermodynamics For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Thermodynamics sounds intimidating, and it can be. However, if you hone in on the most important thermodynamic formulas and equations, get comfortable converting from one unit of physical measurement to [more…]

Understanding Heat Conduction and the Factors that Affect It

Conduction transfers heat through material directly, through contact. Thanks to physics, we know that conduction is affected by temperature difference, the area of conduction, the distance the heat must [more…]

Measuring Thermal Conductivity in Different Materials

Different materials (such as glass, steel, copper, and bubble gum) conduct heat at different rates, so the thermal conductivity constant depends on the material in question. Lucky for you, physicists have [more…]

Transferring Heat through Radiation

Radiation is one way to transfer heat. You experience radiation personally whenever you get out of the shower soaking wet in the dead of winter and bask in the warmth of the heat lamp in your bathroom. [more…]

Predicting Gas Pressure Using the Ideal Gas Law

In physics, you can use the ideal gas law to predict the pressure of an ideal gas if you know how much gas you have, its temperature, and the volume you’ve enclosed it in. [more…]

Keeping a System at Constant Pressure: The Isobaric Process

In physics, when you have a process where the pressure stays constant, it’s called isobaric (baric means “pressure”). The first figure shows an example of an isobaric system, where a cylinder with a piston [more…]

Keeping a System at Constant Volume: The Isochoric Process

In physics, when the pressure in a system changes but the volume is constant, you have what is called an isochoric process. An example of this would be a simple closed container, which can’t change its [more…]

Flowing from Hot to Cold: The Second Law of Thermodynamics

In physics, the second law of thermodynamics says that heat flows naturally from an object at a higher temperature to an object at a lower temperature, and heat doesn’t flow in the opposite direction of [more…]

Absolute Zero: The Third Law of Thermodynamics

In physics, absolute zero is considered the lower limit for the temperature of any system, and the third law of thermodynamics can be formulated in terms of this temperature. The [more…]

Measuring Heat Efficiency Using Carnot's Principle

Thanks to the work of a 19th-century engineer named Sadi Carnot, you can apply the law of conservation of energy to measure the heat efficiency of an engine. [more…]

Calculating with the First Law of Thermodynamics: Conserving Energy

In physics, the first law of thermodynamics deals with energy conservation. The law states that internal energy, heat, and work energy are conserved. The initial internal energy in a system, [more…]

Conserving Energy: The First Law of Thermodynamics

In physics, the first law of thermodynamics deals with energy conservation. One of the forms of energy involved is the internal energy that resides in the motion of the atoms and molecules [more…]

Using the Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics: Thermal Equilibrium

In physics, you can apply the zeroth law of thermodynamics to compare the temperatures of multiple objects. Two objects are in thermal equilibrium if heat can pass between them but no heat is actually [more…]

Using the Kinetic Energy Formula to Predict Air Molecule Speed

In physics, you can examine certain properties of molecules of an ideal gas as they zip around. For instance, you can calculate the average kinetic energy [more…]

How to Calculate Heat Emission from a Blackbody Using the Stefan-Boltzmann Constant

You can use the Stefan-Boltzmann constant to measure the amount of heat that is emitted by a blackbody. Physicists have determined that a blackbody is an object that absorbs 100 percent of the radiant [more…]

Transferring Heat through Convection: Natural versus Forced

Thanks to physics, we know that convection can be either natural, where heat rises on its own, or forced, where you control the movement of the heat.

You may have heard the maxim “heat rises,” which is [more…]

Why Temperature Remains Constant during a Phase Change

Thanks to physics, we know that phase changesoccur when materials change state, going from liquid to solid (as when water freezes), solid to liquid (as when rocks melt into lava), liquid to gas [more…]

How to Measure Volume Expansion Due to Temperature Increase

Thanks to physics, you know that when you increase the temperature of a solid or liquid, its volume will expand. If a solid or liquid undergoes a small temperature change of just a few degrees, you can [more…]

How to Measure Linear Expansion in a Solid Due to Temperature Increase

When you talk about the expansion of a solid in any one dimension under the influence of heat, you’re talking about linear expansion. Thanks to physics, you can measure how much a solid will expand based [more…]

The Principle of Conservation of Mechanical Energy

In physics, if you know the kinetic and potential energies that act on an object, then you can calculate the mechanical energy of the object. Imagine a roller coaster car traveling along a straight stretch [more…]

Use the Principle of Conservation of Mechanical Energy to Find an Object’s Final Speed

Thanks to the principle of conservation of mechanical energy, you can use physics to calculate the final speed of an object that starts from rest.

“Serving as a roller coaster test pilot is a tough gig, [more…]

Use the Principle of Conservation of Mechanical Energy to Find the Final Height of a Moving Object

Thanks to the principle of conservation of mechanical energy, you can use physics to determine the final height of a moving object. At this very moment, for example, suppose Tarzan is swinging on a vine [more…]


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