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Metal and wood common temperature for neutral feel

  1. Feb 4, 2009 #1
    Metal and wood common temperature for neutral "feel"

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Taken from the homework: At what common temperature will a block of wood and a block of metal both feel neither hot nor cold to the touch.


    2. Relevant equations
    I believe it is just conceptual, so I do not know if one is necessary; though I most certainly could be mistaken.


    3. The attempt at a solution
    I know that this has to do with specific heat capacity and that metal has a lower one and that it takes less energy to heat or cool metal, and thus can feel hotter or colder depending on the temperature. I know this involves the transfer of energy from the hand to the object, and I believe it has to do with equilibrium. Yet, I am at a loss on where to go next in this question. I am assuming that the answer has to deal with when the two reach a point of equilibrium.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 4, 2009 #2

    mgb_phys

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    Re: Metal and wood common temperature for neutral "feel"

    It's more to do with conduction.
    Assuming they are both cooler than your body, heat will flow from your body to them - the faster heat flows the colder it seems.
    So which one will heat flow to most quickly?
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  4. Feb 4, 2009 #3
    Re: Metal and wood common temperature for neutral "feel"

    Metal.
     
  5. Feb 4, 2009 #4
    Re: Metal and wood common temperature for neutral "feel"

    i do not know much about thermodynamics but isn't the feeling of hot and cold due to of heat flowing in or out of your hand because of the temperature difference.Wouldn't this feelings stop at thermal equilibrium which is at the temperature of your skin in this case? Heat capacity usually deals with energy required to raise temperature of a specific material and I don't think it maters in this problem
     
  6. Feb 5, 2009 #5
    Re: Metal and wood common temperature for neutral "feel"

    That must be it -- at that temperature no energy would be needed to be transferred to your skin and thus there would be neither hot nor cold feeling. Thanks.
     
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