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Boiling Water Faster in Increments?

  1. May 2, 2014 #1
    If I have a 1.5 kilowatt range can I get 5 gallons of water boiling faster by introducing it to the pot in small increments and waiting for the water that's already in the pot to start boiling before introducing the next increment or would it be the same amount of time if I just dumped the whole volume in at once? Thanks much in advanced and if I put this in the wrong section I apologize but it seemed like it would be general physics to me.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 2, 2014 #2
    I dont think so. In fact, I think it could take longer if you dont add the extra water before it starts boiling and if you think about "newton's law of cooling" (where heat dissipation is proportional to the temperature difference) .

    5 gallons of water take a certain amount of joules to boil. If you heat 1 gallon to boil you have added 1/5 of the energy needed. But if it continues to boil, then that extra energy is lost to the environment by water boiling away. Also, your pot is at a hotter temperature relative to the environment so its going to radiate heat away faster. The better thing to do is to heat the whole 5 gallons at once. That way you will lose less heat to the environment via boiling and your water will be spend more time at a temperature closer to ambient and will thus radiate away less heat.

    Does that makes sense? I think it does, but its just my first thoughts.
  4. May 2, 2014 #3
    Thank you that is what I thought as well but my friend was arguing otherwise.
  5. May 2, 2014 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Have you tried doing an experiment to compare the two scenarios?
  6. May 2, 2014 #5
    Not yet. When get the necessary resources to perform a controlled experiment I plan to.
  7. May 3, 2014 #6
    Let us know how you set it up and what the results are!
  8. May 3, 2014 #7
    Will do though it may not be for a while.
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