Metal and wood common temperature for neutral feel

• Tricause
In summary, the common temperature for a block of metal and a block of wood to feel neither hot nor cold to the touch is at thermal equilibrium, when no energy is required to be transferred to the skin. This is due to the difference in specific heat capacity, with metal having a lower one and thus transferring heat more quickly.
Tricause
Metal and wood common temperature for neutral "feel"

Homework Statement

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.

Homework Equations

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

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.

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:

mgb_phys said:
So which one will heat flow to most quickly?
Metal.

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

bp_psy said:
Wouldn't this feelings stop at thermal equilibrium which is at the temperature of your skin in this case?
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.

What is the common temperature for neutral feel between metal and wood?

The common temperature for neutral feel between metal and wood is room temperature, which is typically around 20-25 degrees Celsius (68-77 degrees Fahrenheit).

Why do metal and wood have a similar neutral feel at room temperature?

Metal and wood have a similar neutral feel at room temperature because they both have a relatively low thermal conductivity. This means that they do not easily transfer heat and therefore do not feel significantly warmer or cooler than the surrounding air.

What happens to the neutral feel of metal and wood at high temperatures?

At high temperatures, the neutral feel of metal and wood may change. Metal has a higher thermal conductivity than wood, so it will quickly heat up and feel warmer to the touch. Wood, on the other hand, has a lower thermal conductivity and will take longer to heat up, so it may still feel relatively neutral at higher temperatures.

Why do metal objects feel colder than wood objects at the same temperature?

Metal objects feel colder than wood objects at the same temperature because of their higher thermal conductivity. This means that they can quickly transfer heat away from the body, making them feel colder to the touch. Wood objects have a lower thermal conductivity, so they do not transfer heat as quickly and may feel warmer to the touch.

How does humidity affect the neutral feel of metal and wood?

Humidity can affect the neutral feel of metal and wood by changing the rate at which they transfer heat. Higher humidity can make metal and wood objects feel warmer to the touch, as water molecules in the air can slow down the transfer of heat. Lower humidity can make them feel cooler, as there is less moisture in the air to impede heat transfer.

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