Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Low temperature physics dangerous?

  1. Oct 30, 2012 #1
    Could temperatures at a fraction of a kelvin be dangerous? We have only naturally observed temperatures of 1k

    But in a lab they did 100pk
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2012 #2
    Temperatures of less then 20°C of the whole body and temperatures of less then about 0°C below the skin are dangerous for the human body. Just prevent these things from happening. If you have a block of copper somewhere at less then 1K it will just collect frost on top and not much will happen. If you touch it you will get frostbite. That's it. No worries. The reason why temperatures lower than say 10K are not much more dangerous than temperatures around 10K is that most substances have already lost all their heat capacity at 10K. (Boiling helium is an exception, in that is has a significant enthalpy of vaporization at 4.2K)
     
  4. Oct 30, 2012 #3
    I wonder if low temperature experiments at a tiny fraction of a Kelvin could be dangerous.
    Could a vacuum decay occur if you lower the temperature of a confined space sufficiently?
     
  5. Oct 30, 2012 #4

    sophiecentaur

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Air at low temperatures could turn liquid which would be a possible fire hazard with the highly concentrated Oxygen present.
     
  6. Oct 30, 2012 #5

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    We've gotten things REALLY REALLY cold already. The record is 100 picokelvins, 0.0000000001 k.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_zero#Very_low_temperatures
     
  7. Oct 31, 2012 #6

    sophiecentaur

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  8. Oct 31, 2012 #7
    I wouldn't worry.
    There's no way you can possibly come into contact with something less than a kelvin.

    It wouldn't survive long enough for you to touch it.
     
  9. Oct 31, 2012 #8

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    I am waiting for the OP to come back and produce the references to the physics of "vacuum decay". If not this is a "When did you stop beating your wife?" question, and this thread will be closed.

    Zz.
     
  10. Oct 31, 2012 #9
    Oh!
    I didn't realise...
    The guy is worried about them crazy scientists messing with the universe?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Low temperature physics dangerous?
  1. Low temperature plasma (Replies: 0)

Loading...