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Higher temperature gradient result in heat traveling further/faster?

  1. Dec 10, 2013 #1

    I have been playing around with a simulation software package and ran a heat transfer simulation however, to me the results did not seem intuitive. From my understanding the distance heat travels in a specific amount of time is proportional to the temperature difference, for example, if the temperature difference is large then heat will travel faster than if a smaller temperature difference. I had ran this simulation at two different temperatures:

    350 K: https://imageshack.com/i/gh2ybgp
    271 K: https://imageshack.com/i/euj54bp

    Both with an initial temperature of 270 K. I would have thought that the 350 k simulation would have a different profile in which the temperature would have traveled further. Is this simulation incorrect or am I just looking at these results wrong?

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    The temperature scales are different in the two pictures. If you can persuade your software to use the same color shadings for the same temperatures (you may have to use red for anything greater than, for example, 275) you'll get results that match your intuition better.
  4. Dec 10, 2013 #3
    Thank you for answering my question, I thought about this and it raised another related question.

    If I look at it now with the temperature scales currently set the heat is shown traveling the same distance at that point in time on both wall temperatures (it reaches the 270 K (blue) temperature at the same time), does this mean that the heat does not travel further when the temperature gradient is increased but instead travels the same distance in larger "quantities"?
  5. Dec 11, 2013 #4
    Could anyone please let me know if this is correct or am I looking at it wrong?
  6. Dec 11, 2013 #5


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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That isn't what these images say. Change the scale so that red is at 271 for both images and then look. You will see that nearly the entire figure is red. You are just confusing yourself because you have the scales set differently.
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